Indonesia aim for double-win against Vietnam at World Cup qualifiers

By Trung Thu   March 15, 2024 | 03:51 pm PT
Indonesia aim for double-win against Vietnam at World Cup qualifiers
Coach Shin Tae-yong at the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar, January 2024. Photo by AFC
Coach Shin Tae-yong exudes confidence as Indonesia gear up to take on Vietnam in their upcoming World Cup qualifier clashes this March.

Currently languishing at the bottom of group F with just one point, Indonesia face a formidable opponent in Vietnam, who have amassed three points from their first two matches. The showdowns are scheduled for March 21 at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Central Jakarta and March 26 at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.

Historically, Indonesia has struggled against Vietnam since their last victory during the 2016 AFF Cup. However, a recent triumph in the 2023 Asian Cup group stage, held in Qatar in January 2024, where Indonesia clinched a 1-0 victory, has injected a newfound sense of belief ahead of the crucial encounters this March.

"Football is far from a simple equation," coach Shin Tae-yong told the Football Association of Indonesia (PSSI) on Wednesday. "Nevertheless, I am confident that our team is primed to pursue victory in both matches."

Shin anticipates a tougher challenge at Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, attributing the difficulty to the long journeys faced by 13 European-based players returning to Indonesia. Moreover, he emphasized that securing wins in both games was a commitment he made to PSSI president Erick Thohir.

The 2026 World Cup qualifiers mark only one of the objectives set by PSSI for Shin, with additional targets including a solid performance in the 2023 Asian Cup, where Indonesia advanced past the group stage, and the 2024 U23 Asian Cup slated for April.

"I will leverage the current strength of the team," asserted Shin. "I am grateful for the collaborative efforts of President Thohir and the Indonesian government in naturalizing players of Indonesian descent for the national team."

This collaborative effort has significantly bolstered the team's prospects, with four recently naturalized players enhancing the squad's depth. Notable additions include striker Ragnar Oratmagoen (Fortuna Sittard), midfielder Thom Haye, defender Nathan Tjoe Aon (SC Heerenveen), and midfielder Jay Idzes (Venezia FC).

Previously, Indonesia boasted seven naturalized players, with defenders Shayne Pattynama, Jordi Amat, Sandy Walsh, Justin Hubner, midfielders Marc Klok, Ivar Jenner, and striker Rafael Struick among them. Unfortunately, Pattynama's absence due to injury is notable. Shin embarked on a trip to Europe to meet, dine, and rally these players ahead of the pivotal fixtures.

Acknowledging the increased pressure stemming from a larger pool of naturalized players, Shin remains committed to steering the team towards victory. Despite Vietnam missing several key players such as Dang Van Lam, Que Ngoc Hai, Nguyen Tuan Anh, Pham Tuan Hai, and Doan Van Hau, Shin remains cautious.

"After their setback in the Asian Cup, I anticipate Vietnam will be eager to bounce back," he said.

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