|In training: Coach Toshiya Miura and his players will face Palestine in an international friendly this Sunday in Ha Noi. — Photo dantri.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — Viet Nam will test their skills in their fifth official friendly match against Palestine at the My Dinh Stadium here this weekend.
At a press briefing yesterday, coach Toshiya Miura said he had yet to scout the capabilities of his team's West Asian rivals.
"I have no idea about (the strengths of) Palestine. The FIFA ranking shows they are at higher level than Viet Nam. However, I am happy to play against stronger rivals," remarked Miura.
The match forms part of the team's preparations for the ASEAN Football Federation-Suzuki Cup tournament later this month.
Asked about his Vietnamese players, the Japanese coach revealed that he was pleased with their performance in training and in recent competitions.
"I am satisfied with my players' training in Osaka and friendly matches in HCM City. The last two weeks ahead of the Cup is an important time for final preparations, and we will concentrate on the AFF Cup," said Miura.
He expressed surprise over the players' hard work and fighting spirit which was so unlike what he heard about them before arriving in Viet Nam.
However, the players have to work on overcoming their weaknesses, and the friendly match against Palestine was a crucial test and an opportunity to do just that.
"They are young and lack experience. They have nearly no chance of winning against strong rivals. We will have to overcome their disadvantages in the coming weeks," noted Miura, who ousted five players days ahead of the friendly match.
At the briefing, Viet Nam Football Federation (VFF) General Secretary Le Hoai Anh said the AFF Cup was the most important event and most honourable title for any team in the ASEAN region.
"The VFF has created the best conditions, including training courses and friendly games, for the national team throughout the year to help them bring the Cup home for only the second time in history," Anh added.
"Everyone can see their progress through these activities, and the VFF hopes that these are the best possible preparations for this year's competition."
Asked about Viet Nam's goal of winning the Cup, Miura said nobody could accurately predict the future.
"Of course I want to be champion. But you know, Viet Nam only won the Cup once, in 2008. (This year) we will try step by step to be semi-finalist and then finalist," he added.
The match will be aired live on VTV6 channel at 5pm on Sunday. A week later, the hosts will welcome Malaysia, their last test, at My Dinh while Palestine will travel to Thailand to play against the hosts on November 14.
The AFF-Suzuki Cup will kick off on November 22, with Group A matches taking place here and Group B, in Singapore. — VNS