|Vietnamese players celebrate their goal during the 2022 World Cup second qualification Asian zone. Việt Nam, who are one among five best second-placed team at the tournament, have qualified for the 2023 Asian Cup in China. Photo courtesy of VFF|
HÀ NỘI — On top of their historic achievement of advancing to the third round of World Cup qualification for the first time, the national football team have also qualified for the finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.
The continent's top tournament will be held in China in 2023.
All 12 teams that advanced to the third round and reigning champions Qatar qualified for the tournament set to take place from June 16 to July 16, 2023.
Eleven other participants will be chosen from qualifiers which will be held later this year.
At the 2019 edition, Việt Nam advanced to the quarter-finals where they lost 1-0 to Japan in the UAE.
Players return home
The national team members except for Viettel players arrived back in HCM City yesterday morning. They will be quarantined in a hotel for seven days then another week at home.
The Việt Nam Football Federation asked the Ministry of Health for the shorter quarantine time as all members of the travelling party received two shots of COVID-19 vaccines and were tested for the virus every three days in Dubai, with no positive tests.
Captain Quế Ngọc Hải and the four other Viettel players in the squad travelled to Bangkok and will join their club teammates on June 22. They will have four days to prepare for AFC Champions League matches in the country.
World Cup draw
The draw for the third round of World Cup qualification will be held on July 1 in Kuala Lumpur, contrary to previous reports it was to take place a week earlier.
The matches will begin in September, while a special release of the FIFA rankings for Asian teams will be revealed on June 18 to decide the seeding for the draw.
The top 12 teams who qualified for the third round will be drawn into two groups of six teams each.
The teams will be divided into two groups based on seeding and compete in a home-and-away format. The top two teams of each group will secure World Cup slots.
The two third-placed teams will face each other in a one-legged play-off for the chance to advance to the inter-confederation play-offs.
Speaking about the third round, coach Park Hang-seo of Việt Nam said challenges were ahead.
The South Korean said the happiness for advancing was momentary and tough times await Việt Nam as the teams in the next round are really strong and at a higher level compared to the previous opponents.
Park said he knew the big difference between the two rounds because he has experienced it in the past.
He said to avoid being embarrassed the coaches and players would need to put a great effort in, but facing Asia's top teams would also be a valuable opportunity for Việt Nam. VNS