Coach Troussier pleased with Vietnam's performance despite losing to Iraq

By Lam Thoa   January 24, 2024 | 05:20 pm PT
Coach Troussier pleased with Vietnam's performance despite losing to Iraq
Philippe Troussier during the Asian Cup game between Iraq and Vietnam on Jan. 24, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Coach Philippe Troussier was satisfied with his players' playing style although Vietnam lost 2-3 to Iraq in the final round of Asian Cup group stage and left the tournament empty-handed.

"Defeat is an unfortunate result, but I’m very pleased with the team’s performance. Even though we were eliminated, I still asked the players to give their best for their country and consider this part of the preparation for the 2026 World Cup qualifying matches in March," Troussier said at the post-match press conference at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Wednesday night.

After two losses to Japan and Indonesia, Vietnam had no hope of advancing, but still showed high determination when facing Iraq. The team confidently played possession football and had many great team plays. One play like that caused Iraqi defender Zaid Tahseen to score an own goal in the 17th minute.

Although VAR intervened and canceled the goal as Khuat Van Khang was offside, Vietnam's morale was boosted and their efforts paid off with the opening goal in the 42nd minute. From a freekick, Van Khang made a cross inside the box and set up Bui Hoang Viet Anh to score with a simple finish.

However, the first half didn’t end perfectly for Vietnam, when Van Khang received a second yellow card for an unnecessary foul in the fourth minute of injury time. The 21-year-old midfielder received a yellow card in the 6th minute for diving.

Coach Troussier was not happy with the referee’s decision to give Khang a second yellow card.

"Both players jumped and made contact. Khang’s foul was not intentional as he just tried to go for the ball. But the referee made the call and we had to accept it. With fewer men, it was very difficult for us to deploy our playing style. Perhaps Van Khang's red card was the turning point," he said.

In the second half, 10-men Vietnam let Iraq turn the tie around with goals from Rebin Sulaka and Aymen Hussein. Vietnam got an equalizer in the first minute of injury time with a goal of Nguyen Quang Hai. However, Iraq still took the win thanks to Hussein’s penalty goal in the 12th minute of injury time, after Vo Minh Trong’s false tackle inside the box.

The 2-3 loss made Vietnam leave Asian Cup this year with zero point. Trousser admitted that Vietnam didn’t reach the goal of getting past the group stage, but considered this a somewhat unlucky result because the team were in the same group as Iraq and Japan, the two top teams in Asia.

"This was a difficult group, but in the end, I think the team left the tournament with a beautiful and positive image," he added.

According to Troussier, after nearly a year of working together, through ups and downs, with mixed receptions from the public, Vietnam are still trying to improve and move forward. He takes responsibility for it all but hopes fans will patiently wait for the matches in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in March and June to see the team's progress.

Asian Cup highlights: Iraq 3-2 Vietnam

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