Indonesia coach calls Vietnam game a must-win

By Lam Thoa   January 18, 2024 | 07:41 am PT
Indonesia coach calls Vietnam game a must-win
Coach Shin Tae-young at a press conference on Jan. 18, 2024, ahead of Indonesia's Asian Cup group D game with Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Indonesia coach Shin Tae-young admitted to feeling the pressure but remained confident that his team can beat Vietnam in the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Group D decisive game on Friday.

"Vietnam and Indonesia understand each other too well, as we have repeatedly met in recent tournaments and at the World Cup qualifier," said coach Shin in the press conference ahead of the clash at the Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium in Doha, Qatar. "But this is such an important match where we have no choice but to win to keep our chance of advancing alive."

Indonesia currently sit bottom of Group D after a 1-3 loss to Iraq in the opener. Failing to win the game against Vietnam on Friday will leave Indonesia with a very slim chance of going through, as they will face Asia's number one team Japan - an opponent of "superior levels" according to coach Shin - in their last group stage game.

In the event of an early Asian Cup exit, the South Korean coach is likely to be shown the door, as he has yet to win any title or achieve anything of great significance during his three-year tenure at the Indonesia national team. He has never earned a victory against Vietnam.

Indonesia’s only win against Vietnam came in the semifinal of the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in 2023. But the Under-23 Indonesia team was then managed by local coach Indra Syafri, while coach Shin took charge of the Under-20 team.

However, the South Korean coach believes such a win would not have much of an impact on the Friday game.

"The SEA Games result is in the past, and both teams brought different squads to Qatar this time.

"The Indonesia players have improved and become more complete, and I believe they will play well and get the desired result against Vietnam."

He is also unbothered by the changes in Vietnam’s style of play, from counterattack under Park Hang-seo to ball possession under Philippe Troussier.

"Our preparation remains the same regardless of our opponent’s changes. I just focus on helping my players improve and hope that they will understand and follow my instructions. I always maintain that Indonesia should not play the old way of just running and shooting," affirmed coach Shin.

Indonesia had sat out of the last three Asian Cup tournaments, not making past the qualifiers in 2011 and 2015 and banned from the 2019 edition for breaking FIFA rules. Many Indonesia players will be experiencing the competition for the very first time, but coach Shin does not regard this to be a disadvantage for his young squad.

"It is true that we have been away from the Asian Cup for quite a long time, ever since we co-hosted the tournament in 2007. But like Vietnam or Malaysia, we are making progress," he said.

"My players consider the opportunity to compete at the Asian Cup for the first time to be a huge honor, and it motivates us to play well, beat Vietnam, and bring joy to the fans."

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