Women's national team have a jam packed schedule ahead of World Cup

February 24, 2023 - 12:02
There is a busy year ahead for the national women's football team, culminating in Việt Nam's first-ever World Cup appearance.


The national women's football squad have a busy year ahead of them. VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — The national women's football team have a busy year ahead of them with the regional Southeast Asian (SEA) Games, Olympic qualifiers and the FIFA World Cup all coming up in the next six months.

Coach Mai Đức Chung will gather 30 players on March 10 to train for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games qualification round, which will be held from April 3-11. Việt Nam are in Group C with Nepal, Palestine and Afghanistan.

The team will then participate in an intensive training course in Japan from April 17-30, considered a final touch for the reigning champions' preparation to defend their title at the 32nd SEA Games in May in Cambodia.

After the regional sport meets, the women will fly to Germany on June 5-25 to train and have two or three friendly matches against local clubs. This will be their last training activity ahead of the World Cup in July.

Chung and his players will fly to New Zealand two weeks before the July 20 tournament.

The VFF plans two friendly games against the hosts and Spain sandwiched between their training sessions.

Việt Nam is one of six Asian representatives, along with China, Japan, South Korea, the Philippines and the co-host Australia at the tournament, Việt Nam's first-ever World Cup.

Việt Nam are in Group E with the defending champion USA, first runner-up the Netherlands and Portugal.

Portugal were the final team to join the group after an intercontinental play-off match. Group E action takes place from July 27 to August 1 and all games will be in New Zealand.

"Competing at the World Cup is an honour for each national player. It means that the name of Việt Man is marked on the international football map," said Chung.

"I am proud and happy about that. I hope that this is also the pride of all athletes. The World Cup is an opportunity for us to show off. We are smaller in physical strength and body stature but have strong minds. We will compete with the best and have positive results to serve people's wishes," he said.

Among competitors, the US and the Netherlands are said favourites for the knock-out round's berths. They are the world No 1 and No 8, respectively.

Against the different-level rivals, coach Chung knew that his team's task was to limit as many goals conceded as possible. Meanwhile, Portugal will be a suitable target, and Việt Nam can earn points from this match.

It is also the first World Cup of Portugal which places No 22 in the world, 12 steps higher than Việt Nam.

In their latest competition, the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 last July, Portugal were eliminated after the group round, after one draw and two defeats.

Việt Nam skipper Huỳnh Như (left) is very familiar with Portugese players. Photo of Lank FC

However, they have made up a record of six wins in a row when participating in the World Cup qualification and friendly matches.

On Chung's side, his players suffered two losses in their latest event of the AFF Cup last July.

National captain Huỳnh Như, flying high with Lank FC in the Portuguese league, is optimistic about a good result for Việt Nam.

"Portugal has a better domestic league than Việt Nam, but in terms of player level, the gap is not big," she said. VNS