Vietnam not at top Asian level: head coach

By Hieu Luong   July 12, 2023 | 06:03 pm PT
Vietnam not at top Asian level: head coach
Coach Philippe Troussier gives instructions on the sideline during a game of Vietnam. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Vietnam may be the top football team in Southeast Asia but have a long way to go to match the best in Asia, coach Philippe Troussier said.

After winning the 2018 AFF Cup, Vietnam won two consecutive SEA Games football gold medals, and rank 95th in the world and 15th in Asia.

But the Frenchman believed they are only 18th or 19th best on the continent.

"We have to go to another step and we have to go to Asia," Troussier told the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

"I think to improve you need high performance, to realize that we need to break through the roof."

Vietnam made it to the final qualifiers of the 2022 World Cup two years ago but lost eight out of 10 matches against the top Asian teams.

According to Troussier, the difference between Vietnam and those teams is the lack of experience, tools, knowledge, and tradition.

The 68-year-old said his role in Vietnam is similar to when he was the coach of Japan 25 years ago.

His mission is long-term, which is qualifying for the 2026 World Cup when the number of participating teams will increase from 32 to 48.

"I like to have a target I don’t know if we can achieve it, but we want to go to the World Cup in 2026 because we need a direction. I cannot say my direction is winning against Hong Kong."

Vietnam have made a good start under him, winning 1-0 in friendlies against Hong Kong and Syria.

They will play in the World Cup second qualification round in November this year and then the Asian Cup in Qatar in January 2024, where they will take on Japan in the opening game.

As coach of Japan, Troussier had helped the team win the 2000 Asian Cup. He became the first coach to lead Japan to the knockout round of the World Cup in 2002.

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