|Vietnamese players seen in a training shift at the Universal Stadium on February 10. — Photo hff.vn
HA NOI (VNS) — The Group C matches of the Asian Futsal Championship will begin on the night of February 11, with a clash between Viet Nam and Chinese Taipei in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
Both teams are looking to advance to the quarter-final round for the second time.
"Every year the championship improves a lot, but we have prepared well and are aiming to reach the knockout phase," Viet Nam's Spanish Coach Bruno Formoso, whose side reached the last eight as hosts two years ago, said.
"It will be a very tough game for us because they have a good team with good players, but we will try to optimise our resources in the best way we can," he was quoted as saying on the-afc.com.
While Viet Nam are participating in their fourth continental competition, it is Chinese Taipei's 11th time, but they have failed to advance beyond the first round since 2004. They finished third in the group stage last time.
"We have many young players who want to play in high-quality tournaments such as this and fight for their country," Coach Chen Yung-sheng said on the- afc.com.
"Viet Nam have made great achievements in the last two years, and so it will be a tough match. The first game is crucial and we need to get off to a good start as we want to get to the quarter-finals," he said.
|Viet Nam Coach Bruno Formoso (second from left) shakes hands with
three other coaches of Group C during their pre-tournament press briefing. — Photo the-afc.com
Prior to the tournament, Viet Nam took part in several friendly matches and grabbed three wins and one draw.
Chinese Taipei lost to Lebanon and Japan during their preparation for the event.
Also at the Universal Stadium, the other Group C encounter will see Thailand take on Tajikistan on February 11.
Two-time runners-up Thailand are the favourites to advance to the knock-out round as the group winners.
They qualified for the championship after an outstanding performance of four wins at the ASEAN zone qualification.
Tajikistan are playing in their ninth championship and expect to repeat their bet result of reaching the last eight as they did in 2007.
The Group D matches also begin on February 11.
Earlier, groups A and B saw some action. Hosts Uzbekistan defeated Saudi Arabia 5-2 in their Group A opener, whileKyrgyzstan secured an enthralling 4-4 draw with Lebanon.
Iran thrashed Jordan 6-0 in their opening Group B match, after Iraq sealed a 6-1 victory over China.
Sixteen AFC futsal referees, including Truong Quoc Dung from Viet Nam, havebeen chosen to officiate at the tournament.
The 16 participating teams have been divided into four groups of four teams,and each group will play a one-round league where each team in the group willplay one match against every other team.
The top two teams in each group (eight teams in total) will qualify for the knock out stage and the four winners of the quarter-finals will qualify for the semi-finals.
The winners of the semi-finals will advance to the final and the two losing teams will play in the third and fourth place play-off match. The four losers of the quarter-finals will then feature in play-off matches to determine the fifth-place team.
Apart from the Asian title, the top five teams will qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup to be held in Colombia from September 10 to October 1. — VNS