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Viet Nam women eye World Cup berth via Asian tourney

Update: May, 13/2014 - 08:37
Ambitions: Vietnamese women hope their performance at the Asian championship that starts tomorrow will land them a berth at the 2015 World Cup in Canada. — Photo

HA NOI (VNS) — Coach Chen Yun Fat of the Vietnamese women's football team has been motivating his players with the promise of greater things to come, like a chance to play in the World Cup.

The team are in the final stages of preparing for the Asian Women's Football Championship that kicks off tomorrow in HCM City.

They have just returned home from a month-long training camp in China and South Korea and are familiarising themselves with the conditions at the Thong Nhat Stadium, where almost of the tournament matches will be played.

Viet Nam are in Group A with Jordan, world champions Japan and defending champions Australia. They will compete in a round-robin format with the two top teams not only advancing to the next round, but also winning World Cup berths. The winner of a play-off match between the two groups' third-place teams will also find a World Cup place.

Powerhouses Japan and Australia are believed to shoo-ins, so Viet Nam must beat Jordan, the lowest world-ranking squad in the group, to have a chance to play against Group B's third-placed team.

The team's attack and defence will be spearheaded by striker Minh Nguyet, midfielders Le Thi Thuong and Kim Hong, defenders Chuong Thi Nga and Nguyen Thi Nga and goalkeeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh.

During the training, coach Fat had banned players from talking with media. He also refused all interviews. Reporters were only allowed into the field for the first 15 minutes of a training session.

"We lost weight because we worked very hard, but we feel that our physique and speed have improved remarkably. It was a useful course for us and I believe we will put in a strong performance," custodian Trinh said upon the team's arrival at the Tan Son Nhat Airport on Friday.

Viet Nam's first match will be against Jordan tomorrow. They have won most of their previous encounters with this team, but the last friendly ended in a 1-1 draw.

Jordan, who arrived HCM City last week, are also determined to put on a good show.

Under coach Okiyama Masahiko said the hijab-clad women are not coming into the match as underdogs. They won the East Asian tournament beating Bahrain 5-0, Qatar 7-0 and Palestine 10-0.

In preparation for the Asian event, Jordan trained two weeks in Japan before playing two friendly matches against Bayern Munich women's squad.

Masahiko said his team's target was definitely to win a World Cup berth. They are confident because they have prepared well and were ready for challenges.

He said Jordan has faced Viet Nam several times and been beaten. This time, it will be more difficult playing them away, but his team was not worried. — VNS

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