Coach Park Hang-seo pointed to Argentina’s loss against Saudi Arabia in the 2022 World Cup as an example of the challenges awaiting Vietnam before AFF Cup opener with Laos on Wednesday.
“The players are ready for the 2022 AFF Cup. But the first game is never easy,” he said at a press conference in Laos on Tuesday. “Even Argentina had a hard time as they lost to Saudi Arabia 1-2 in the opening game, although they went on to win the World Cup. My job is to prepare the players to have the best fighting spirit.”
According to Park, the preparation for this AFF Cup is the same as for other tournaments in the past five years because the style of play and the squad did not have any major changes. However, the health of the team will have to be better managed after Phan Van Duc and Bui Tien Dung both got Covid-19. Duc tested negative on Sunday and so was able to fly to Laos for the game.
“This is good news. Duc has great offensive ability and that has been proven throughout the years,” said Park. “The team needs a player like him to strengthen the attacking line. I hope Duc will have a great tournament.”
This will be Park’s last tournament as the head coach of Vietnam as he has decided not to extend his contract. However, the South Korean coach told the players many times that he does not want to put pressure on the team to win his final Cup coaching them.
“Since my day one here, I have always made the same preparation before a tournament,” Park said. “I don’t want people to use sentences like ‘This is Coach Park’s last tournament with Vietnam.’ I also don’t want to tell the players to do this and that just because it’s my last tournament. I hope people will stop mentioning the words ‘last tournament’.”
Park said that he had carefully researched Vietnam’s opponent and he gave high marks to the Laos team.
“Laos got a new coach from Germany,” he said. “They played four games, two in September and two in December. I watched two of their games and most of the players are under 23. This team are really strong mentally and their coach also wants them to get more control of the ball.”
Vietnam will play Laos on Wednesday at the New Laos National Stadium. Six days later, they will clash with Malaysia at home.
The game will start at 7:30 p.m. and be reported live on VnExpress International.
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