Indonesia media worry about Vietnam's new style of football

By Xuan Binh   February 29, 2024 | 10:19 pm PT
Indonesia media worry about Vietnam's new style of football
Defender Pham Xuan Manh (L) was fouled by Yakob Sayuri during the match between Indonesia and Vietnam at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Qatar in Asian Cup on Jan. 19, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Indonesia media have reminded their national football team to stay cautious as Vietnam coach Philippe Troussier plans to change Vietnam's style of play during the rivals' World Cup qualifier matches.

News site Okezone said the Indonesia national team need to "be aware" as the French coach switches tactics.

Inews asked Indonesia's squad to be "careful" because Troussier is preparing to provoke them.

Both media outlets referred to a recent interview Troussier gave with French newspaper Ouest-France, in which he said Vietnam played football "like rugby or judo" and described the players as "weightlifters."

"I want the players not to lose the ball easily and be confident in keeping possession to make the opponents chase after the ball," Troussier added. "Players should not face the opponent directly. I want to help those weightlifters play more flexibly."

According to Indonesian media, based on Troussier's comments, he might avoid physical duels, instead opting for a more diversified playing style. Besides the regular attacks on the flanks, Vietnam might play long ball to take advantage of the pace of their forwards.

Under Troussier, Vietnam have been noted for their possession, averaging 45.3% per game at the 2023 Asian Cup in January. The team scored four goals but lost all three group stage matches and were eliminated early. One of those defeats was against Indonesia - their next opponent in the two 2026 World Cup qualifying matches in March.

In the Asian Cup match against Indonesia, Vietnam recorded 58% possession but had fewer shots than their opponent (11 vs 16) and lost 0-1.

Indonesian media have speculated that Troussier's new strategy could be frustrating for opponents. They feared that coach Shin Tae-yong's team would constantly need to chase the ball and thus be unable to create chances.

The last encounter between the two teams showed Indonesia had significantly more chances. The expected goals (xG) for Indonesia in that match was 1.36, meaning the total probability of scoring from their shots was 136%, compared to Vietnam's 0.98. But if Asnawi Mangkualam's successful penalty is excluded, Vietnam's xG would be significantly higher.

Before the next match against Vietnam at the Bung Karno Stadium on March 21, coach Shin revealed that the roster of the national team would not differ much from the 2023 Asian Cup. They would still employ naturalized players with great physique like defenders Jordi Amat, Elkan Baggott, Sandy Walsh, Shayne Pattynama, Justin Hubner, midfielder Marc Klok, Ivar Jenner, and striker Rafael Struick. In addition, the team could welcome a few more naturalized players before the match, depending on their paperwork.

Coach Troussier and his assistants are still scouting players for the national team in the V. League. The French coach recently visited Japan to meet forward Nguyen Cong Phuong, so he might return to the national team, while the remaining players will mainly come from the domestic league.

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