Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The Vietnamese U19 squad have arrived in Bahrain for the Asian football championship and set a humble target for the event.
Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn spent several weeks in Qatar with his best players to get familiar with the weather there. The team completed their training with a goalless draw against Tajikistan on October 10.
Tuấn is satisfied with his players and their performance, especially their attempts to fix mistakes during the game.
Although the team were unable to score, they performed better overall.
Tuấn said he just wanted his team to leave a mark at the continental competition.
“I want them to play with competitive spirit and dedication. That way they would know where they stand and the (Việt Nam Football) federation based on the performance can prepare for future events, such as the Southeast Asian Games in 2019,” Tuấn said.
“At the finals, we are not given any particular goal, but we know our responsibility. It is our duty to build a united Việt Nam, displaying team spirit, clear tactics and strong effort against all opponents.”Two years ago, the Vietnamese with Nguyễn Công Phượng, Nguyễn Tuấn Anh, and Lương Xuân Trường, who are now national team members, made a strong impression, not just on participating teams, but also on local supporters.
They were eliminated eventually but did succeed in securing a 1-1 draw against a strong China in the group stage.
This year, Việt Nam will meet powerhouse North Korea in their first match of Group B tomorrow.
The Koreans came second at the previous tournament, losing 0-1 to Qatar in the final. They are much stronger than Việt Nam who finished third at the recent ASEAN tournament.
The other rivals are Iraq and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who will play Việt Nam on October 17 and 20, respectively.
“We have in-depth information about them, from their players to their results at the qualifications. They are all powerful teams.”
Iraq come to the tournament with the best historical result. They have won the championship five times -- in 1975, 1977, 1978, 1988 and 2000.
Iraq topped Group F of the qualifiers, winning all three matches by scoring 11 goals and having only one goal scored against them.
UAE were the champions in 2008 and were stopped in the quarter-final round in the previous edition of the tournament.
The team dominated Group C by winning three qualifying matches with 15 goals.
Striker Majid Mohd Lafi Hamad Almehairi, who has netted the ball six times during the qualification, will be the one to watch for all Group B teams in the finals. — VNS