Coach Park Hang-seo said Vietnam would do their best to win against China at the World Cup qualifier match in Hanoi on Tuesday.
“The match takes place on the first day of the Lunar New Year. I understand that fans are expecting a lot out of the team in this time,” Park said at a press meet Monday.
“I and my players have all prepared our best to win against China. However, it helps to remember that in Southeast Asia, before Vietnam, only Thailand have made it this far into the qualifier in Asia, and even they have never won a match.”
Vietnam are in the final round of World Cup qualification for the first time. Throughout seven matches in Group B, they have yet to earn a point. They managed to score four goals, but let their opponents scored 16. In their match against China in the UAE, Vietnam lost by 2-3.
“China are a top-tier team in Asia, both strategy-wise and player-wise,” Park said, adding that Chinese football clubs are also among the top in the continent.
“They have good foundations. Their investment for football is among the top in the world. The strength and physicalities of Chinese players are every good. They have speed, dangerous at the rears and are quick to counter-attack,” Park said.
Park refused to answer what China’s weaknesses were.
In Vietnam’s most recent match on January 27 in Australia, Vietnam lost 0-4 to the host. It was the first time Vietnam let their opponents scored four goals in a match under Park’s tutelage since 2017.
“As the head coach, I apologize for having let down our fans,” Park said, adding that at the World Cup qualifiers, where the best teams in Asia gather, Vietnam are having a tough time.
However, instead of focusing on losses and failures, Vietnamese football should look forward into the future.
“After losing seven matches, we have received much criticism. I and my players are willing to receive them, but criticisms should be adequate and constructive,” he said, adding that Vietnam should discuss about planning the next football generation to build a better future.
Park is not fond of the term “Golden Generation,” saying the fact that Vietnam entered this stage of the World Cup qualifier in Asia is the result of efforts from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and other clubs.
“If the current generation is called the ‘Golden Generation,’ and the next generation has better results, how would we call them, the ‘Diamond Generation’? The more important thing is to do our best so Vietnamese football can have a better future.”
A maximum of 20,000 spectators are allowed to enter the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi to watch the match, which will start at 7 p.m. (local time). All spectators will have to either be fully vaccinated or recovered form Covid-19, and must test negative for the coronavirus within the last 72 hours.
The game will be reported live on VnExpress International.
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