Việt Nam confident ahead of Group D opener against Kuwait

April 17, 2024 - 10:09
In Tuấn's selection, there are only five defenders but he has picked eight midfielders and seven strikers, as the 56-year-old manager prefers an attacking style.


Vietnamese players train in Doha, Qatar. Việt Nam will play Kuwait in the AFC Asian U23 Cup's first match on April 17. Photos courtesy of VFF

HÀ NỘI Despite knowing little about his opposition, U23 coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn is confident of a positive result when his team faces Kuwait in the AFC Asian Cup later today.

The two sides face each other in their Group D opening in Doha, Qatar, and Tuấn believes his squad is prepared for the tournament.

"We have information on Uzbekistan, which played Việt Nam recently at a different football level, and also Malaysia, a team in the same ASEAN region," Tuấn said.

"But we know little about Kuwait. We tried to collect as much data as possible and analysed their style.

"There is no easy game in Group D but, in general, I think Việt Nam has a big opportunity to advance to the next round."

His team has prepared intensively for two weeks and played a friendly against Jordan last week. Tuấn finalised his 23-member squad on April 15.

Goalkeeper Quan Văn Chuẩn has been appointed team captain. As one of the oldest and most experienced on the team, he is expected to lead his younger teammates to achieve the best possible results. Chuẩn, the best goalkeeper of the AFF Cup 2023, is one of three shot-stoppers in the squad.

In Tuấn's selection, there are only five defenders but he has picked eight midfielders and seven strikers, as the 56-year-old manager prefers an attacking style.

His tactics were confirmed by striker Bùi Vĩ Hào who revealed that Tuấn encouraged all players to feel free to shoot, hunting for goals and victory for Việt Nam.

Tuấn said Việt Nam has completed preparations and are ready for the Cup.

“The performances in training are pretty good. We hope to receive strong support from media and home fans so that we can achieve positive results here," Tuấn said.

Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn is optimistic about Việt Nam's chances to reach the knockout stage.

Kuwait coach Emilio Peixe only had one week to prepare his squad for the tournament with no friendly games played.

Their last competition was the Asian Games last September in China. They were stopped at the group stages after two draws and one loss.

All Kuwait players compete for local clubs. Their stars are striker Salman Al-Awadhi, midfielders Ebrahim Kameel and Hussain Ashkanani, defender Abdulaziz Murad and goalkeeper Abdulrahman Kameel who have all played for the national team several times.

Kuwait stands at No 139 in the FIFA ranking, 24 places below Việt Nam.

Peixe however was confident his team could secure a place in the next round.

The Portuguese coach said his staff watched clips of Việt Nam and found them to be a good team with many skillful players.

However, Kuwait had solutions, he said.

Peixe said he also analysed other teams in the group. His first target was to qualify for the quarter-finals before building plans for the knock-out games.

The match between Việt Nam and Kuwait will be officiated by referee Abdulla Al Marri of Qatar. His assistants are fellow countrymen Faisal Al Shammari and Zahy Al Shammari. VAR referee is Hassan Karimov of Tajikistan.

Marri also took charge of the Việt Nam's 1-0 defeat to Iraq at the 2026 World Cup qualifier last November.

In other news, Việt Nam Football Federation President Trần Quốc Tuấn has been appointed Head of the AFC Delegation at this event.

VFF President Trần Quốc Tuấn is Head of the AFC Delegation at this event.

Tuấn is currently Chairman of the AFC Competition Committee for the 2023-27 term, a member of the AFC Asian Cup Organising Committee for 2023-27, Chairman of the AFF Competition Committee for 2022-26, and a member of the AFF Finance Committee.

He was previously appointed by AFC as Head of Football Operations at the Asian Games in Incheon in 2014 and in Hangzhou in 2023 and was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Asian Cup 2024 in Qatar. VNS