Việt Nam players celebrate their SEA Games 31 victory in May. They will defend their AFF Cup title later this week. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Linh
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam's women's football team have arrived in Manila ahead of the AFF Women's Football Cup, and coach Mai Đức Chung is looking forward to the start of proceedings after a training camp in France to prepare.
Chung and his team, who are defending champions, arrived in Manila on Sunday night after playing a friendly against the French national side.
"Despite a long and tiring flight, most of my players are in good condition and high moods ahead of the competition," Chung said at the press briefing yesterday.
"The AFF Cup is an important event in the region and we highly respect it. It is a competition for us to sharpen our skills and hopes to lift regional football up."
Việt Nam were the last side to arrive in the Philippines, beginning their training at the hotel yesterday morning.
However, Chung's side does have a few injury worries.
"We have two injured players. One had leg pain prior to the France training camp and one suffered a knee injury in the friendly with the France team," Chung said.
"It was due to our crammed schedule for this competition year. Previously, we took part in the Asian Cup, SEA Games, and now this competition. My players are overloaded with matches.
"But I hope that they will recover well to play Cambodia on July 7."
The 71-year-old coach said Việt Nam's 7-0 loss to France in their friendly match at the Stade de la Source, Orléans, last Saturday, was a good test for his players ahead of the regional tournament.
"We had an opportunity to play against a strong team of the world. They were taller and more technical than us, so a 7-0 score was easy to understand," Chung said.
"However, my defenders played under expectations. They lost their focus and temper. The connection between players washed away. French players used high balls and attacked our right wing which was our weakness. Their high-speed style and better fitness helped them win easily.
"It was a defeat but we learnt a lot from it. I hope my players have more matches like that to improve their quality, especially when we are going to compete in the tournament."
Việt Nam are in Group B with Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Timor Leste.
The defending champions are expected to finish top without too many difficulties.
In Group A, Australia will be on the hunt for their second title. Their U20 side won here in 2008. Four years ago they finished second after a 3-2 loss to Thailand in the final.
They will play Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore in their group.
With the participation of Australia, there will have three 2023 World Cup competitors, along with Việt Nam and the Philippines, vying for the regional trophy.
"All rivals in Group B are the same. We have set a plan for each of them. It will be the same for the semi-finals where we will face a high possibility of seeing Thailand," Chung said.
"Despite strong rivals, we are determined to finish top. We will not let our supporters down," he said.
Teams will compete in a round-robin format in the group stage. The best two will advance to the semi-finals.
Việt Nam will first play Cambodia on July 7. Their next matches are against Laos on July 9, Timor Leste on July 11 and Myanmar on July 13.
Việt Nam won the cup on three previous occasions, in 2006, 2012 and 2019.
Thailand are the tournament's most successful team, with four titles in 2011, 2015, 2016 and 2018. VNS