Vietnam not afraid of US 'mountain' in World Cup opener

By Duc Dong   July 20, 2023 | 10:52 pm PT
Vietnam not afraid of US 'mountain' in World Cup opener
Coach Mai Duc Chung speaks at a press conference in New Zealand, ahead of Vietnam and U.S. game at the Women's World Cup, July 21, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Coach Mai Duc Chung said Vietnam would not be tourists at their first World Cup, and would relish taking on the women's football 'mountain' of the United States on Saturday.

"We normally do not dream for a chance to play the U.S. or the Netherlands. But it has come true," Chung said at a press conference in New Zealand on Friday.

Vietnam will play their first game at the 2023 Women's World Cup against the defending champions, which Chung called a "historic match" that has been long-awaited by Vietnamese fans.

They will then play Portugal, also in the tournament for the first time, on July 27; and the Netherlands, the 2019 runners-up, on Aug. 1.

Chung said the team had no expectations regarding the result of the U.S. game, but were excited to test their playing style and spirit.

When asked by a U.S. reporter about the chance of Vietnam beating the four-time champions U.S., Chung laughed, saying: "That would be amazing. And we will not deny that chance."

According to Google predictions, Vietnam have 0.6% chance to win the U.S. game in Eden Park while their chance for a draw is 1.1%.

Chung expressed modesty and confidence. "The U.S. outrank us. But we did not come here to be tourists," he said.

"The U.S. are like a high standing mountain, but we will not balk at climbing it. Vietnam will have reasonable tactics. Our first goal is to limit goals conceded and avoid injuries. If we can score, it will be amazing."

The 72-year-old coach said he is proud to represent Vietnam at World Cup, although had a simple goal of learning. He added that Southeast Asia should be proud to have two representatives, the other being the Philippines, at the tournament.

Vietnam have been in New Zealand for nearly two weeks to get familiar with the weather, pitches and living conditions. During this time, they suffered losses in friendlies against New Zealand (0-2) and Spain (0-9).

"We are comfortable, we have no fears or obligations," Chung said of what will be his biggest match ever.

Chung said Vietnam have played strong opponents like Germany, France and Spain, from which they have realized their own strengths and weaknesses, lessons that will carried into the game against the reigning champions.

go to top