|Viet Nam's under-23 team coach Hoang Van Phuc said his players would learn a lot during a friendly match against Japanese powerhouse Kashima Antlers tonight at the My Dinh national stadium.
HA NOI – Viet Nam's under-23 team coach Hoang Van Phuc said his players would learn a lot during a friendly match against Japanese powerhouse Kashima Antlers tonight at the My Dinh national stadium.
"It is a valuable opportunity to play with a strong rival. Through the game I hope to strengthen our weaknesses in defense, which is my biggest worry," Phuc said. "My U23 will definitely play a beautiful game and the coaching board will select the best core for the upcoming tournaments based on their performance."
In the match tonight, Phuc will have to rest midfielder Ngo Hoang Thinh, who suffered a recent leg injury. He will place his strongest players, such as overseas Vietnamese Mac Hong Quan, in the front line. Quan will be supported by captain Nguyen Van Quyet, Nguyen Huy Hung, Tran Manh Dung and Tran Phi Son.
Goalkeeper Tran Buu Ngoc will accompany defenders Pham Manh Hung, Mai Tien Thanh, Le Quang Hung and Nguyen Xuan Hung.
"Japanese teams have the same playing style as those of Brazil. They tend to have a skilful attacking style. We have to prepare plans to resist them. My players lack international experience. I hope that they will open their minds when facing Kashima," Phuc said.
Replacing coach Torino Cerezo, who could not come to Viet Nam to manage Kashima Antlers, assistant coach Ishii Masatada was confident his team would grab the victory.
"Half of our team members are regular players in the J-League. Despite some key players' absence our strength is not affected, [so I believe] they could play well against any rival," said Masatada through an interpreter.
"It is not easy to find a way to face Viet Nam's U23, half of whose players are national members. However, our philosophy is to fight, so we will win."
He added that he was afraid the hot weather in Ha Noi would strongly affect his players.
The match will be aired live on VTV6 at 6pm. – VNS