Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn of Việt Nam is confident that his team can spring a surprise at the upcoming FIFA U20 World Cup in South Korea.
The team are back in Hà Nội after a month of intensive training in Nha Trang City.
At a meeting with reporters on Monday, Tuấn said his players’ physical strength has improved a lot, but they needed to try harder to be competitive enough at the World Cup.
Việt Nam are in Group E with France, Honduras and New Zealand.
“Honduras and New Zealand are stronger than us. France is a powerhouse. They are regular faces of the World Cup, while Việt Nam is competing for the first time. We are one of the weakest teams at the event, but are not going to South Korea to be a pushover. Việt Nam has its own ability and will show it to the world,” he said.
“We understand the Vietnamese players cannot vie with others in term of physique and body form, but we will bring into play our competitive spirit and great discipline,” Tuấn said.
Tuấn said his coaching board had collected information about these teams and spent a lot of time studying them. Việt Nam is lacking in international competition experience, especially at the world level. It was definite that to face such strong rivals, Việt Nam had to play a defensive game, while at the same time players were required to strictly enforce discipline and tactics. It was the only way to spring a surprise, the coach said.
Tuấn and his team will practice in Hà Nội for about one week before leaving for a two-week training course in Germany. They will play three friendly matches with the youth squads of Schalke 04, Borussia Monchengladbach and Fortuna Dusseldorf.
“We will strongly focus on our weak points from now on and during the course in Germany next week,” he added. “This course also aims to give our players more experience as they will have an opportunity to compete with local clubs’ youth squads.”
Tuấn is faced with injury problems. His No 1 goalkeeper Bùi Tiến Dũng has been forced to train on the sidelines because of knee pain, while captain Nguyễn Trọng Đại has not shown 100 per cent of his ability, having recently returned after several months of the same problem.
However, the coach said he had plan B and plan C in place so that he could adjust under any circumstances.
Several months ago, when talking about Việt Nam’s aim at the World Cup Tuấn said he hoped his team could pass the group round.
At Monday’s interview, the former defender said he had set a suitable target for the team.
“Please wait! Before our Bahrain Asian championship, people said we could not do anything special, but in fact we grabbed our World Cup ticket. It is the same for the upcoming competition, we will try our best. To us, it is not a play-for-fun World Cup,” Tuấn said.
“I will not comment upon Việt Nam’s chances of entering the next round, but we have our specific and attainable target.
“Many people called Việt Nam’s berth at the World Cup magic and incredible luck. That is not wrong, but we cannot ignore our efforts over two years and several competitions. We have our ambitions and will do anything to make them come true. I myself have a strong belief that Việt Nam can collect its very first points from the World Cup for the Southeast Asian region in the event’s 40 years of existence.” — VNS