Indonesia wary of stacked Vietnam squad at World Cup qualifier

By Hoang An   March 7, 2024 | 08:15 pm PT
Indonesia wary of stacked Vietnam squad at World Cup qualifier
Defender Vo Minh Trong (R) in the match between Vietnam and Indonesia at Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Qatar in round two of group D in the Asian Cup on Jan. 19, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Indonesia assistant coach Nova Arianto believes Vietnam will be more formidable than they were at the 2023 Asian Cup earlier this year now that key players have returned from injury.

Vietnam lost to Indonesia 0-1 in the group stage of the 2023 Asian Cup in January 2024, without young talent Nguyen Dinh Bac, who was out due to injury.

Star midfielder Do Hung Duong also did not play.

Several other experienced Vietnamese players could not attend the tournament in Qatar for various reasons. The result was Indonesia's first victory over Vietnam since coach Shin Tae-yong took charge of the national team in 2020.

In March, the two teams will face each other in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Vietnam are expected to have some key players return to the squad.

"Vietnam remain an opponent that we must be cautious of, as many players who did not participate in the Asian Cup will return," CNN Indonesia quoted Arianto as saying. "We will need to consider this factor more carefully and choose a suitable plan for Indonesia in the match in Jakarta."

Arianto also hinted that Vietnam's squad at the Asian Cup did not include their best players.

Besides the players mentioned, Que Ngoc Hai, Doan Van Hau and Dang Van Lam also did not play in Qatar, but they are unlikely to return for the World Cup qualifiers against Indonesia due to injuries.

Indonesian media also affirmed that the national team must win both upcoming matches against Vietnam in Jakarta and Hanoi.

In March 2024, coach Shin Tae-yong traveled to Europe to see naturalized players in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy. He met players like Ivar Jenner, Marselino Ferdinan, Sandy Walsh and the newly naturalized defender Jay Idzes. Indonesia will gather their squad of 27 players on March 18, three days before facing Vietnam at home in Gerola Bung Karno Stadium.

The Vietnam national team will start training in Hanoi on March 12. At the same time, the U23 team will also train to prepare for two friendly matches in Tajikistan. Both teams will call up about 60 players who will train together for selection of the best players for the national team.

In group F, Vietnam currently stand second with three points, two more than Indonesia. Iraq lead the group with six points, while the Philippines are at the bottom.

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