Key striker of Vietnam injured before Japan clash

By Lam Thoa   January 13, 2024 | 07:49 pm PT
Striker Pham Tuan Hai had to train alone during the final session before Vietnam’s clash with Japan in the Asian Cup group stage due to injury.
Pham Tuan Hai (left) during a training session on Jan. 12, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Pham Tuan Hai (L) during a training session on Jan. 12, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Hai hurt his knee during training on Friday. The 25-year-old striker was diagnosed with soft tissue pain, so he had to train separately on Saturday.

Hai is not sure of recovering in time to play when Vietnam face Japan in the opening match of group D on Sunday.

The Hanoi FC striker is considered one of the most important players in the team and is also the number-one choice for striker.

Hai, 26, debuted in the V. League for Hong Linh Ha Tinh in 2020, after spending his youth career in Hanoi. In 2022 Hanoi brought Hai back and he immediately became the club’s mainstay.

In 84 matches in the league, he has scored 25 goals.

He debuted for the national team in a 3-1 defeat to Oman in the third qualifying round of the 2022 World Cup in October 2021. Since then he has played 21 times for Vietnam, scoring four goals.

Injuries have also befallen goalkeeper Dang Van Lam, defenders Que Ngoc Hai, Doan Van Hau, Tran Dinh Trong and Bui Tien Dung, midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc and striker Nguyen Tien Linh.

Midfielder Nguyen Tuan Anh and defender Do Duy Manh have only just recovered.

Vietnam are up against a huge challenge in the match with Japan, the favorites for the Asian Cup this year. They are also the most successful team in this tournament with four wins and are also the Asian team that have the highest position in the world rankings at 17th, 77 places above Vietnam.

The Vietnam and Japan's match will start at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday (Hanoi time) and will be reported live on VnExpress International.

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