Iraq coach says to field best lineup against Vietnam

By Lam Thoa   January 23, 2024 | 02:20 am PT
Iraq coach says to field best lineup against Vietnam
Coach Jesus Casas during Iraq's 3-1 victory over Indonesia at the Asian Cup on Jan. 15, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Although Iraq have already advanced to the round of 16 as the top team of group D in Asian Cup, coach Jesus Casas still aims to defeat Vietnam in the last round.

"We have already qualified for the round of 16 with one game in hand, but the team must show their best form and win because every game is important. We don't consider the game with Vietnam in the last round for fun. I told the players that Iraq have to win this one," Casas said in a press conference on Tuesday.

Vietnam were already eliminated after losing two matches against Japan and Indonesia.

Casas affirmed that Iraq will field their best lineup in the game against Vietnam without worrying about injury or getting booked, despite the fact it can affect their preparation for the round of 16.

"My players will give their best to win, so they are not afraid of getting booked or missing the next match. I don't allow anyone to take this easy and only care about the round of 16," Casas added.

Iraq have encountered Vietnam five times and remained undefeated, with four wins and one draw. In the most recent encounter - the second qualifying round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in November 2023, Iraq defeated Vietnam 1-0 thanks to a header from striker Mohanad Ali in injury time.

Casas is still wary of Vietnam's possibility of surprising them, after reviewing Vietnam's 2-4 defeat to Japan and 0-1 to Indonesia in the first two rounds.

"I saw them play really well against Japan. Therefore, I think tomorrow's match will be very difficult," Casas added.

The match between Iraq and Vietnam will take place at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium on Wednesday, 6:30 p.m. (Hanoi time).

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