Việt Nam, China aiming for Lunar victory

January 31, 2022 - 15:06

On the first day of the Lunar Year, coaches Park Hang-seo and Li Xiaopeng want to start the Year of the Tiger with a roar – and a win in this World Cup qualifier.


Coach Park Hang-seo (right) and his players in training on January 30 in Hà Nội. Việt Nam will play China on February 1. Photos countersy of VFF

HÀ NỘI — Both coaches of Việt Nam and China are hoping to ring in the New Year with a victory when the two side meet in Hà Nội on Tuesday evening.

On the first day of the Lunar Year, coaches Park Hang-seo and Li Xiaopeng want to start the Year of the Tiger with a roar – and a win in this World Cup qualifier.

Although the defeat to Australia in the last match, Việt Nam’s seventh loss in a row, means qualification for Qatar is out of the question, there’s plenty of regional pride at stake when the two sides meet at the Mỹ Đình Stadium.

At a pre-match briefing, coach Park apologised to Vietnamese supporters for the 4-0 loss to the Socceroos.

"We made Vietnamese people disappointed. As the head coach, my apologies for that defeat," said coach Park.

"I know that Việt Nam have been striving for 60 years to advance to the third qualification of the World Cup.

“It is a totally strange competition to us and lures all powerful teams of Asia. These are reasons that Việt Nam did not have good results. It is hard to be successful in the first time of participation. We are facing a difficult period.

"Tomorrow, we will play China; it will be a special match. Vietnamese people specially care because it is the first day of the Lunar New Year. They expect a positive result over China. My players and I have carefully prepared for this match and we are determined to win."

Park has experienced seven losses in a row, the worst results in more than four years in charge. The loss to Australia pushed Việt Nam out of top 100 in the world.

Also speaking at the briefing, midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải said Việt Nam will aim for a win to cheer up local supporters on the first day of the Lunar New Year. He hoped that people would stay by the team's sides and encourage them throughout the match.

Asked about Chinese team, coach Park said: "China have had the best preparation among all Asian teams for the tournament. Chinese clubs are continental powerhouses. Players have pretty good physique. They play well, threatening from the wings using players with good speed."

The South Korean did not want to talk about China's weak points.

Park has called up defender Bùi Hoàng Việt Anh after his former skipper Quế Ngọc Hải and defender Liễu Quang Vinh tested positive for COVID-19. At the same time midfielder Trần Phi Sơn has been side-lined because of a torn ligament suffered in training two days ago.


Forward Nguyễn Tiến Linh is back in action after missing the Australian match on January 27 after testing positive for COVID-19.

Forwards Nguyễn Tiến Linh and Nguyễn Văn Toàn who missed the Australian match because of the pandemic will also be back.

China coach Li appreciated the Việt Nam team but insisted he would bring three points home.

"I hope my players will have a good match tomorrow. It is for our supporters in the Lunar New Near," said Li who took charge of the team in early December.

“I praise all Vietnamese players who show their great spirit in competitions. They will also have strong support of local fans in this match at the Mỹ Đình.

"My players are working well. I hope they will show their best. All matches are important to us but in this re-meet with Việt Nam the result is not as important as my players' performance.

"I believe that two teams will contribute a beautiful game for supporters of two countries. China are confident ahead of the clash and will aim for a win.

China forward Luo Guofu regretted that he did not play in the first leg match but said he would be play tomorrow.

"I don’t care how many minutes I am playing in that important match but will compete with all my best," said Luo who is original Brazilian player.

China defeated Việt Nam 3-2 in the first leg last October.

Tomorrow, the match will kick off at 7pm at the national Mỹ Đình Stadium and will be live on VTV6.

Việt Nam News will have a live blog to update all actions of these two rivals on our website. — VNS