Việt Nam’s head coach Park Hang-seo (right) and Indra Sjafri of Indonesia at the press conference ahead the final match of men’s football category of the SEA Games. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Linh
HÀ NỘI — The Việt Nam men's U22 football team are one win away from the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games’ title, and head coach Park Hang-seo says they'll be throwing to kitchen sink at Indonesia in search of glory.
The final at Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila kicks off at 7pm today (Hà Nội time).
In the semi-finals on Saturday, Việt Nam beat Cambodia 4-0, while Indonesia defeated Myanmar 4-2 after extra time.
The final will be Việt Nam's first in 10 years in a competition Vietnamese fans are still waiting for a title.
“The whole team are only one step from the SEA Games’ gold medal. Fans, training board as well as Vietnamese footballers can be proud of what Việt Nam did at this year’s event,” said South Korean coach Park at a press conference in the Philippines.
“Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc also sent a message to encourage and support the team. We will do everything we can to take gold medal. We will fight with all our hearts,” said Park.
The veteran coach said even after his vast international managing experience, this evening's final would be a special experience for him.
“I received love from Vietnamese fans so I have a responsibility to win this match and take a gold medal,” the 60-year-old coach said.
Park said Indonesia are strong, but Việt Nam won't be afraid.
“Indonesia have a good line-up. They can turn from defence to attack very well. In the qualifying round, Indonesia scored 17 goals, mainly from the right wing. They are not easily beaten. But Việt Nam are always up for the challenge. We know what to do to crush Indonesia,” said Park.
The women’s team's victory over Thailand to take a gold medal on Sunday is also a driving force for the men’s team.
Park said he was very proud and wished both teams would return home with golds.
“The captain of Việt Nam’s female team, Huỳnh Như, sent a video to encourage us to play well in the final with Indonesia,” said Park.
In the upcoming match, captain and midfielder Nguyễn Quang Hải will almost certainly be absent due to injury. Midfielder Đỗ Hùng Dũng, who wore the captain's armband in the latest two matches, is set to skipper the side again.
Indonesia and Việt Nam have already played each other in the group stage of the competition, with the Vietnamese coming from behind to win 2-1.
Coach of Indonesia Indra Sjafri said his team was excited to have a chance to avenge that Group B defeat.
Sjafri also expressed his hope that the upcoming final isn’t just a story of winning and losing, but will promote friendship between the two countries.
Sjafri said with the fans of both sides long craving a gold medal in the competition, the final should be a cracking encounter.
“The last time Indonesia triumphed in the SEA Games was 1991. We have had to wait around 20 years for the gold. Việt Nam also wait for the gold medal for a long time. The two teams are now very thirsty. I think the upcoming final will be very interesting,” said Sjafri. — VNS