Vietnamese players practise in Dushanbe's Republican Central Stadium in Tajikistan. They will play the hosts on September 29 in the Group B fixture. Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI A draw against Tajikistan will be enough for Việt Nam to secure a place in the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup finals, but the Southeast Asian champions want more than that in the last match of the qualification's Group B on Wednesday.
Việt Nam are top of the three-team group after beating Maldives 16-0 last week. Tajikistan are in second place after they beat Maldives 4-0 on Monday.
"Tajikistan players are taller and bigger, especially the defenders, than Vietnamese but their technique is not really impressive, just in middle level," said coach Mai Đức Chung of Việt Nam after he witnessed the match between Tajikistan and Maldives.
"They play long ball well. They used 4-4-2 formation with two strikers who have good speed to vie for ball against Maldives."
Chung still wants his team, currently ranked 32nd in the world, to be relaxed but not complacent against Tajikistan, who sit in 135th position globally.
Although they scored 16 goals in their first match, Chung was not satisfied with his team's performance. He said the result did not tell the whole story. Việt Nam could score many goals because Maldives were too weak, not because his players were strong.
He said scoring was still a problem and must be improved for the next match.
"We have built up a suitable plan to face them and my players are ready for a win," Chung said.
The match will be held at 8pm local time at the Republican Central Stadium in Dushanbe City.
Following the tournament rules, only the top team of eight groups will join four squads who have taken automatic slots in the finals which will take place in India from January 20 to February 6, 2022.
For the first time in history, the finals is expanded from eight teams to twelve. Japan are the defending champions while Australia and China were second and third runners-up.
The Asian Cup will serve as the continental qualification for the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Australia have already qualified automatically as co-host. Five teams will qualify directly for the World Cup via the knockout stage (including play-offs for fifth place) and two more teams will advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
Việt Nam who missed their chances twice in play-offs for fifth place are tipped to win their first ever World Cup slot this time as it has expanded from 24 to 32 teams. VNS