Coach Troussier treats Indonesia game like a final

By Lam Thoa   January 18, 2024 | 06:11 am PT
Coach Troussier treats Indonesia game like a final
Coach Philippe Troussier speaks at the press conference before the Asian Cup group stage game between Vietnam and Indonesia, Jan. 18, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Coach Philippe Troussier is certain Vietnam can beat Indonesia and Iraq to advance at the Asian Cup by treating each game as though it were their last.

"Tomorrow's match will be difficult for both Vietnam and Indonesia," he said. "The game against Indonesia is to prove ourselves. The game against Indonesia is to affirm our position."

The head coach was speaking Thursday before the match at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium.

"The players must enter the game with a fighting spirit, like playing the SEA Games or AFF Cup final. Everyone knows the team that win this match will have a great chance to advance."

According to the French coach, Indonesia's greatest strength is their teamwork and balance in attack, and their strong, spirited defensive players.

However, he confirmed that Vietnam are confident and ready for the clash.

"The match against Indonesia is part of the process to get past group stage. The goal is unchanged when we face Iraq in the final round," Troussier added. "Our goal is to get a maximum of six points through the two matches. If not, we must try to get the points needed, plus goal difference to advance. We can determine our fate. Indonesia probably think the same."

In the opening round, Vietnam lost 2-4 to Japan and Indonesia lost 1-3 to Iraq. The encounter between the two rivals is now crucial to their chance of advancing. In this tournament, only the top two teams of each group, plus four of the six third-placed teams with the best records, will advance.

Vietnam are rated a bit higher than Indonesia in official world rankings.

However, according to Troussier, the chances of winning this match are divided equally between the two teams and the game could be decided by the small details.

He emphasized that Vietnam would continue to play possession football as they did in the opening match against Japan.

"It's not surprising that Vietnam lost to Japan... But the details of the match showed that we were very strong and also had the ability to keep possession," the 68-year-old coach said.

"Before the match, we understood that it would be very dangerous to let Japan have a lot of time on the ball. We had to minimize the danger by taking back possession. In the next match, we need to maintain that. Indonesia are very strong mentally and have an aggressive playing style, so we need to keep possession more."

Coach Troussier has been under a lot of pressure leading up to the Asian Cup.

When he took over the team from coach Park Hang-seo, he tried to change the team's mindset and playing style, but didn't achieve the desired effect. The U23 team only won bronze at the SEA Games, while the national team lost several friendly matches.

But Troussier has re-affirmed that he remains positive about what he’s building in Vietnam. He has repeated that the team's "long-term goal" is to narrow the gap between them and the top 10 national squads in Asia.

To do so, the only way is to be more fearless with the ball, he has argued.

At the moment, Vietnam is dealing with the absence of Nguyen Dinh Bac due to injury. He had a muscle strain and was absent from practice on Wednesday. If Bac cannot compete, it will be a big loss for Vietnam.

The 20-year-old forward was the highlight of Vietnam in the match against Japan. In addition to the reverse header goal to equalize 1-1, Bac also caused a lot of trouble for Japan's players, even the ones who play in Europe.

Indonesia also have three cases of injury with defenders Jordi Amat, Asnawi Mangkualam and Rizky Ridho.

The match between Vietnam and Indonesia will take place on Friday at 9:30 p.m. (Hanoi time). VnExpress International will issue live reports of the match.

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