Key players return from injuries, boosting Vietnam's prospects for World Cup qualifiers

By VNA   February 4, 2024 | 06:25 pm PT
Many of Vietnam's national team stars have fully recovered and returned to training and competition at their clubs, preparing for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in March.

During the 2023 AFC Asian Cup finals in Qatar, the Vietnamese team exited the tournament at the group stage after suffering three defeats, including a 0-1 loss to Indonesia. One major contributing factor to this disappointing performance was the significant number of injuries that plagued the squad, leaving coach Philippe Troussier with a weakened team.

Key players such as Que Ngoc Hai, Dang Van Lam, Nguyen Tien Linh, Nguyen Hoang Duc, Nguyen Thanh Chung, Doan Van Hau, and Bui Tien Dung have all made a successful recovery and returned to training, even participating in friendly matches.

Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc (C), who was absent from Vietnams Asian Cup squad due to injuries, plays in The Cong Viettels 4-3 victory over Hanoi FC in a friendly match on Jan. 31, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Minh

Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc (C), who was absent from Vietnam's Asian Cup squad due to injuries, plays in The Cong Viettel's 4-3 victory over Hanoi FC in a friendly match on Jan. 31, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Minh Minh

Defender Hau, who played a crucial role in the Vietnamese team during coach Park Hang-seo's tenure, was consistently absent under coach Troussier due to injury. This significantly impacted the quality of the Vietnamese team's performance in the 2023 Asian Cup.

"I sincerely hope to recover in time and be able to join the Vietnamese team for the 2026 World Cup qualifiers," Hau said.

The recovery of these players is good news for French coach Troussier, as their presence provides the Vietnamese team with more quality options for the crucial matches against Indonesia in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

Vietnam's objective in the matches against Indonesia is to secure six points, which would open the door for further progress in the tournament.

However, the two matches, scheduled to take place at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium on March 21 and My Dinh National Stadium on March 26, promise to be challenging. Indonesia have significantly transformed since the addition of several naturalized players, and their confidence is soaring following their progress at the 2023 Asian Cup.

The disappointing performance at the 2023 Asian Cup has subjected coach Troussier to immense pressure from the media and public. Fans are particularly interested in whether the contract with the French coach will be extended.

Nevertheless, a representative of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) has confirmed that Troussier will retain his position despite the team's underwhelming performance at the Asian Cup.

"The Vietnamese team is not the exclusive property of the VFF or coach Troussier; they are the collective asset of the country," said Nguyen Xuan Vu, VFF Vice President in charge of communications.

"We will collaborate with clubs to ensure that the Vietnamese team have the strongest line-up before entering the World Cup qualifying matches in March.

"In the event that the Vietnamese team do not achieve success, the VFF will sit down with coach Troussier and evaluate the situation, but the contract does not contain an immediate termination clause."

Troussier assumed the position in early 2023, succeeding Korean coach Park Hang-seo, and his contract with the VFF will run until the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup 2026.

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