|Việt Nam national team players training in Hà Nội ahead of their 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match next month. Photo courtesy of VFF|
HÀ NỘI — A 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying match between Việt Nam and Australia will be held behind closed doors to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
The match is scheduled for September 7 at the National Mỹ Đình Stadium in Hà Nội.
Previously, the Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) planned to sell 4,000 tickets for the game, with supporters showing negative tests and COVID-19 vaccination certificates to enter the field.
However, after a meeting of Hà Nội leaders and representatives of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, security, health care departments and the VFF, a no-fan match was decided to ensure the control of coronavirus which has forced Hà Nội into social distancing for about three weeks.
Park Hang-seo and his players will lose some of their home advantages due to this unexpected decision.
Following the Asian Football Confederation's rules, teams, officials, referees and relevant persons will have to be quarantined for two days before taking part in the event. All must follow a 'bubble rule' during the time of the match's organisation.
Strong defence needed
Việt Nam will be making their debut at the Cup's third qualifier and are in the same group as Japan, Australia, China, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
The country advanced to the final round as one of the five best runners-up in the second round. They are the lowest-ranked team in Group B.
The team have gathered for intensive training since the beginning of this month.
"It is the first time we have advanced to this final qualifier. The national team are trying to make improvements going into this round," said captain Quế Ngọc Hải.
"Our opponents are all top teams that qualify for the World Cup regularly so the upcoming games will be really challenging. We will try to make our defence better to play these games with confidence and great spirit."
The 28-year-old said he was not feeling any pressure as he had confidence in his fellow defenders.
"I don’t have much pressure playing in this position, because my teammates support me really well. Together, we form solid defence and we will improve even more to get ready for the final round," said Hải, "It is a chance to learn from strong teams such as Japan and Australia who have players competing in Europe. Việt Nam are ready for any challenge."
Park's side will have about a week to finalise his list of players before they play Saudi Arabia on September 2 and Australia five days later.
Their later matches are in October, November and in the first three months of 2022.
The top two teams from each group will qualify automatically for the FIFA World Cup Qatar Finals, with the third-placed sides meeting in a play-off, with the winners advancing to the Inter-Confederation play-off. VNS