Setting the stage: Việt Nam team train at Thống Nhất Stadium in HCM City to prepare for the friendly match with North Korea today. — Photo vnecdn.net
Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam national football team will play fair with North Korea in a friendly match to be held at Thống Nhất Stadium in HCM City today, according to Việt Nam’s head coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng.
The match is a warm-up for Việt Nam to prepare for the AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 in November.
In the FIFA rankings, Việt Nam rank 141st while North Korea are 118th place.
To prepare for the match, Thắng called 30 players—including three players who are competing for foreign clubs, namely midfielder Lương Xuân Trường and Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, striker Nguyễn Công Phượng.
“North Korea has played in the World Cup. They are better than our team in terms of skills and physical strength, so the match is very useful for us,” said Thắng.
“The match’s result is important but for me, players’ performance is more important. The team need to fair play with North Korea to serve fans nationwide,” said Thắng.
“Việt Nam have had the best lineup ever since the AFF Cup in 2008 for the coming match. With many young players, coach Thắng will have many choices and changes of way of playing,” said captain Lê Công Vinh.
“North Korea have many good players, and they are a strong team. I know that because I have faced many of their young players . However, the match’s result is not the most important thing. Through the match, we will learn lessons for the future and the coming AFF Cup,” said Vinh.
North Korea registered 22 players for the match, including Pak Kwang-ryong who plays as a striker for Lausanne in the Swiss Super League. Earlier, he joined Basel FC and became the first North Korean to play in the 2011–12 UEFA Champions League campaign coming on the field in the 92nd minute. Besides Pak, Jong II Gwan, top five scorers in the Asian Games in 2014, is also on the list.
Coach Norwegian Jorn Andersen said his team have four weeks to prepare for the match. He doesn’t know much about Việt Nam team, but he thinks that Việt Nam are a challenging rival and the coming match will be difficult for North Korea.
Andersen started coaching North Korea in May. He guided the team to tie with Iraq 1-1 and beat United Arab Emirates 2-0. — VNS