|Việt Nam's U20s training. They will hone their skills in Saudi Arabia before the 2023 AFC U20 Asian Cup finals. Photo VFF|
HƯNG YÊN — Việt Nam's U20s will test their skills against Saudi Arabia ahead of the 2023 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U20 Asian Cup finals in Uzbekistan in March.
The team gathered yesterday in the PVF Youth Football Training Centre in Hưng Yên Province. They will have three weeks of training there before travelling to Saudi Arabia, where they will play friendlies with the hosts' U20 side.
The core of Việt Nam's U20s remain unchanged from last year, including names such as Cao Văn Bình, Nguyễn Công Phương, Nguyễn Văn Trường, Khuất Văn Khang, Nguyễn Quốc Việt and Nguyễn Đình Bắc.
Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn has also summoned many other new players. From the preliminary list of 36 players, Tuấn will whittle them down to the 23-man squad attending the Asian tournament.
Việt Nam, who are one of the five second-placed teams with the best results in the qualifying round, will be in Group B with Iran, Australia, and Qatar.
The Vietnamese team are set to play their first game at the Asian Cup against Australia on March 1, then Qatar on March 4 and Iran on March 7.
Group B won't be easy for the men in red; Qatar won the tournament in 2014, Iran triumphed four times in 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976, and Australia were the runners-up in 2010.
The four teams advancing to the semifinals will qualify for the 2023 FIFA U20 World Cup. As there are five places for Asia at the World Cup, if Indonesia, hosts of the World Cup, make it to the Asian Cup semi-finals, the two best-performing teams that lose the quarter-finals will compete in a playoff for the remaining slot.
"Việt Nam's U20s used to attend the U20 FIFA World Cup, and the players made many career advancements. The current national senior Vietnamese team have a lot of good players who played in the U19 team in the 2016-2017 period, such as Hồ Tấn Tài, Nguyễn Quang Hải, Nguyễn Tiến Linh and Nguyễn Hoàng Đức. Therefore, I have high expectations for the current U20 players who will continue to gain success,” chairman of the Việt Nam Football Federation Trần Quốc Tuấn said. VNS