Việt Nam still have chance at Asian Game despite loss

September 23, 2023 - 08:27
Iran were much stronger than Việt Nam as they surpassed the Southeast Asian champions in fitness, experience and technique.


Midfielder Nguyễn Đình Bắc of Việt Nam (No 12) dribbles past an Iranian player during their Asian Games Group B match on September 21. Iran won 4-0. — Photo of VFF

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese players can grow strong after their heavy loss against Iran and still advance to the Asian Games' next round despite huge challenges, according to their head coach.

Việt Nam suffered a big defeat to Iran, losing by four goals to nil in their second Group B match on Thursday in Hangzhou, China.

The continent's powerful side scored one early in the first half and added three more after the break in a match that Việt Nam head coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn said his players still made too many basic mistakes.

"I congratulate Iran. They totally dominated the game and deserved to win," said Tuấn at the post-match press conference.

"My players did not do good job. They need to be really focused from the beginning through to the end of the match. I have repeatedly told them about it but they could not do that under high pressure from a strong team. It is our problem. We still have one more match, one more chance. These mistakes must be fixed and we must change."

Iran were much stronger than Việt Nam as they surpassed the Southeast Asian champions in fitness, experience and technique. They stand at No 22 in the FIFA ranking while Việt Nam No 95.

Tuấn added: "This kind of match will be a big lesson to my players. Of course nobody is happy with such a big loss but in term of profession my players will learn a lot and develop stronger in the future. They understand that football is now a subject of science, not a game as we thought about before."

"My players are among the youngest here. Bringing young players to Asian Games was a strategic plan of the Việt Nam Football Federation. It is our long-term vision. Players still need time and competitive events to challenge themselves and develop. They will be core of senior team for tournaments next year and the year after as we keep eyes on the 2026 and 2030 World Cups."

Tuấn knew that the door to the next stage for Việt Nam was closing but his team can still make it through to the knock-out stages.

"We will have an opportunity in the match against Saudi Arabia in three days. We will have to forget this defeat and prepare for that match,” he said.

Vietnamese players have been told to forget the loss and focus on the last group match against Saudi Arabia on September 24. — Photo of VFF

Việt Nam are at No 3 place in the table below Iran and Saudi Arabia which beat Mongolia with a clean 3-0 score in a latter match on the same day.

In the last group round match on Sunday, Tuấn will not have defender Nguyễn Anh Đức as he has received two bookings and will be suspended for the next game.

Meanwhile, the chances of defender Phan Tuấn Tài and forward Nhâm Mạnh Dũng is not clear as they are both still injured.

Tài suffered a Achilles tendonitis in his first training session after landing in China. Over-23 Dũng has a pink eye and could not play the first two matches.

Việt Nam will ensure a place in the next round if they beat Saudi Arabia and have six points to be one of two top teams. They could still qualify if they draw or lose to the world No 54 seed if Mongolia do not beat Iran. In this case, Việt Nam will be No 3 in the group and might be one of four best third-placed teams to seal the knockout stage ticket. — VNS