Vietnam aim for more than a draw against Iran in U20 Asian Cup

By Duc Dong   March 7, 2023 | 12:21 am PT
Vietnam aim for more than a draw against Iran in U20 Asian Cup
Striker Nguyen Quoc Viet (number 14) has scored two goals for Vietnam so far at the 2023 U20 Asian Cup. Photo by Asian Football Confederation
Vietnam only need a draw against Iran on Tuesday to advance to the quarterfinals of U20 Asian Cup, but they will enter the game with a bigger target, their coach said.

With six points thanks to victories over Australia and Qatar, Vietnam are in a comfortable position ahead of their last group stage game. If they win or draw against Iran, who are having three points, they will secure the top spot of group B and enter the quarterfinals. If Vietnam lose 2-3, they will still advance thanks to the goal advantage. Any defeat with other scores will leave Vietnam's chance to be decided by other teams. When that happens, Vietnam will advance if Qatar (zero points) win, draw or do not lose big to Australia (three points).

Head coach Hoang Anh Tuan reminded the player to concentrate and put the joy of winning in the last two games aside.

"We won't enter the game with a mindset that we only need a draw," Tuan said in a training session on Monday. "There have been lessons in the past that showed how dangerous it was to play the game with such mindset."

Iran are one of the strongest teams in Asia as they often qualify for the World Cup. They have won the U20 Asian Cup title four times.

Losing 2-3 against Australia after defeating Qatar in the first game left Iran with only one choice, which is to beat Vietnam.

Tuan thinks that in youth football, it is normal to win a game and lose the next one, and he still has big respect for Iran.

The Vietnamese coach requested his players to stay disciplined with counter-attacking football. This tactic was effective against Australia and Qatar. After two games, Vietnam have shown a strong attacking power with 43 shots in total.

Vietnam are having nearly the full squad, except for defender Ho Van Cuong who is still recovering from injuries. Iran lost two keys players due to suspension, but coach Samad Marfavi is confident. He said Vietnam have effective playing style, but Iran will win if they can follow the plan of the coaching team.

This is the first encounter of Vietnam and Iran at the U20 level.

"The team will play with confidence, teamwork and discipline to get the best result," Vietnamese striker Nguyen Quoc Viet said.

The game will take place at 5 p.m. (Hanoi time) in Uzbekistan and will be reported live on VnExpress International.

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