Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — The coach and players of the Vietnamese women’s football team affirmed their determination to win a World Cup place during their Group B matches at the Asian Cup.
They will put that plan into motion when they play Japan in Amman, Jordan today.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday, coach Mai Đức Chung of Việt Nam, said: “There is still a big gap between women’s teams in Asia. We are in a difficult group with strong opponents in Japan, South Korea and Australia. Việt Nam won a slot to compete at the Asian Cup finals, after our successful qualification. Our players are young, and we have several new faces who are inexperienced. However, we will do our best, especially in the first match, to overcome our challenges. We will not suffer from any pressure in this tournament.”
Midfielder Nguyễn Thị Tuyết Dung and striker Huỳnh Như said that the team did not come to the tournament to be losers.
“We are not lucky being in the ‘Group of Death’ and people may think that we are here as underdogs, but I do not. We will try to attain our best results and prove that we are not losers,” said Như.
Her teammate, Dung, shared her belief and said that Việt Nam lost their World Cup ticket two years ago, but this time they would do much better.
Speaking about defending champions Japan, Như, the National Golden Ball winner, said they were a strong team, but they were almost starting over as some of their senior players recently retired. However, they had good tactics and an effective playing style, and the opener would be tough for Việt Nam, so Vietnamese players had to take every opportunity, she added.
The HCM City-based player also stressed that the World Cup was not only her dream, but was also the dream of the Vietnamese people, and the Asian Cup was an opportunity to make this dream come true.
Japan head coach Asako Takakura is quietly confident that her new look side can still be a force to be reckoned with when they begin their defence of their title against Việt Nam, at the King Abdullah II Stadium.
“We won the title in the previous Women’s Asian Cup, but we are slowly building a new team,” the 49-year-old Takakura, who was appointed in 2016, told the-afc.com.
“We are struggling with a few things, but we obviously want to take this year’s title back to Japan. When I became head coach two years ago, I tried to find new players and I have tried out many since then and have attempted to give them valuable experience through playing them in international matches. I believe that some of our players are not yet match ready, but I think that the team is a very Japanese side, and I am happy with that, as indeed I am with our preparations for the tournament,” she added.
Việt Nam, who will face the Nadeshiko in their opening fixture, is a side that Takakura holds in high regard.
“I watched Việt Nam in the previous competition, and I remember that they work very hard as a team and are good technically,” she explained.
“The first match is always a difficult one, but we are trying to not just focus on Việt Nam and concentrate on how we will play,” she said in conclusion. — VNS