Viet Nam News
Hà Nội — Vietnamese players practised on defending ’dead ball’ situations and free kicks which is considered their Achilles heel going into today’s Group D second round match against Iran in the Asian Cup.
In the past eight matches, Việt Nam conceded six out of eight goals from free kicks. In the match against Iraq on Tuesday, Việt Nam suffered a goal in the last minutes and lost the match 2-3. Coach Park Hang-seo asked his assistant Nguyễn Đức Cảnh to work on preventing a repeat.
Goalkeeper coach Cảnh set up walls by and the three keepers spent most of their time taking shots. Meanwhile, the rest team took 50 per cent of their time to defending high balls.
Earlier, coach Park held a team meeting to review their loss while talked about plans to face powerhouse Iran.
Speaking to reporters, midfielder Trần Minh Vương said Iran were beatable.
"We all regretted losing to Iraq. But we are better now, training hard and ready for the next match as Park talked with us and had his own way to encourage us a lot," said Vương who did not play last match.
"Like others I also wanted to contribute but I did not have my chance against Iraq. Iran are strong team. They are good athletes playing modern football. However, they are not an undefeated team. We are now in good mood which is really important. If I am in the first team tomorrow, I will try my best and the whole team will look forward to positive result," he added.
"We respect them but we are not afraid of them."
Former champions Iran appreciated Việt Nam and were in good form after recent tournaments.
Carlos Queiroz and his players said that the Vietnamese were not easy to beat.
Striker Karim Ansarifard who is playing for Nottingham Forest in England’s second tier said the match versus Việt Nam would be Iran’s second ’final’ at the Asian Cup. There was no weak team in this tournament and Iranian players must be serious all the time.
Ansarifard and his teammates focused on their strong points of high balls during training. In their match against Yemen, this tactic helped them win 5-0.
Assistant coach Oceano Da Cruz said the result of the match would directly affect Iran’s chance to reach the knock-out round. Việt Nam were a big obstacle, who also want to win. Iraq were strong but his team would pay all attention to the coming match to have best score, the assistant said.
Referee Muhammad Taqi will take charge of the match. The Singaporean made headlines when he officiated a match between Việt Nam and Qatar in the Asian U23 Championship’s semi-finals last January. Taqi gave Qatar a controversial penalty to open the score before making other contentious decisions.
Taqi had to close his Facebook account after receiving too much criticism after the match.
Iran are on top of Group D with three points. Việt Nam third. Their match at the An Nahyan Stadium will begin at 6pm Hà Nội time and will be live aired on VTV6 and Fox Sports channels. — VNS