World Cup qualifiers moved to June, to be played in one venue

Update: February, 19/2021 - 15:05
Vietnamese defender Đoàn Văn Hậu (left) vies for a ball against Indonesian midfielder Riko Simanjuntak during their 2022 World Cup qualifying match in October 2019. Teams will see each other again in June. — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam and the rest of Group G will play their final matches of the 2022 World Cup’s second qualification round in one destination in June.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) made the decision through an online meeting on Wednesday.

Previously the UAE, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia and Việt Nam were set to play home and away matches. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the four matches scheduled for next month could not be held.

At the meeting, most representatives wanted to move the matches to June and at one stadium, the location of which has yet to be finalised.

After reviewing the teams’ points of view, the AFC approved the suggestion and decided to hold the matches on June 3-15.

Following the new schedule, Việt Nam will play Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11 and the UAE four days later.

The new schedule gives the team more time to prepare for their tournament than their rivals.

While all four teams must arrive at the destination on May 31 for their first matches on June 3-4, Việt Nam can watch them and train for three more days.

The tournament’s destination is expected to be confirmed on March 15 with Thailand and the UAE applying to host.

Currently, Việt Nam are on top of the group with 11 points after five matches. The top team from the group will go through to the third qualification round, as well as the four best runners up from the total of eight groups.

Malaysia and Thailand are following with nine and eight points, respectively.

The UAE are fourth with six points but they have just played four matches. Indonesia, with no points, have already been eliminated. — VNS