|The Vietnamese national team train to prepare for the match with India in the international friendly tournament in HCM City today. Photo laodong.vn|
HCM CITY — The Vietnamese national side only need a draw against India in their final match in HCM City today to top the international friendly tournament.
After two matches, Việt Nam are in the driving seat with three points and a goal difference of +4, after a 4-0 victory over Singapore. India and Singapore have one point apiece.
According to the ranking rules, teams with the same points will be assessed on points, head-to-head records and goal/loss difference. India and Singapore ranked second and third, with a goal difference of 0 and -4, respectively. Singapore have played all their games and returned home.
Being two points higher than India, coach Park Hang-seo's team only need a draw to finish top of the table.
India are currently ranked below Việt Nam in the FIFA rankings (104 compared to 97) and Việt Nam will be hoping make full use of home advantage. Coach Park has many experienced and young players he can call upon.
Several of Việt Nam's key players did not play in the first match with Singapore to make room for more experimental options. However, they will most likely play in the last match today.
On the Indian side, they also have new players to prepare for the 2023 Asian Cup finals early next year. India are led by coach Igor Stimac, who took Croatia to fourth place in the world in 2013.
The Asian Cup will be Stimac's final bow after more than three years of leading the Indian team. Stimac announced that he wanted to win the tournament.
"Unfortunately, we only drew with Singapore despite creating more dangerous situations. Taking advantage of the opportunity to convert them into goals will have to be done better when we face Việt Nam, the current leading side in Asia. I have to admit that the Vietnamese players are in good form. They achieved high performance, and have abundant physical strength, maybe because they are still playing in the domestic league, while Indian players are about to enter the new season, so they are not in the best shape," Stimac said.
"Watching the Vietnamese team, I see that the players' passes and crosses are of very high quality, with clear tactical intentions. They are stronger than the Singapore team. However, the Indian team don't come here for tourism, and we will try our best to beat Việt Nam and win the friendly tournament," Stimac added.
The Vietnamese and Indian teams have never met in official tournaments, such as the Asian Cup or World Cup qualifiers. When the two sides met in friendly matches in 2004 and 2010, the spoils were shared over the two games.
The friendly tournament in HCM City runs from September 21-27. The winning team will receive a cash prize of US$30,000, the second team $20,000, and the third-placed team $10,000. VNS