Vietnam shortest team in Asian Cup this year

By Lam Thoa   January 8, 2024 | 12:35 am PT
Vietnam shortest team in Asian Cup this year
Goalkeeper Filip Nguyen (3rd, L) is the tallest player in Vietnam squad for the 2024 Asian Cup. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Vietnam's average height is the lowest of all teams at this year's Asian Cup, while some of their other important indexes such as weight and experience are also in the bottom group.

According to the squad lists announced by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) last Thursday, the average height of the 624 players in the tournament is 1.798 m.

There are 14 teams below average, of which Vietnam ranked last at an average of 1.754 m per player. The second shortest team in the tournament are Thailand (1.763 m), followed by the UAE (1.77 m). The tallest team, as usual, are Iran at 1.838 m.

Thanks to mixed and naturalized players, Indonesia (1.797 m) and Malaysia (1.789 m) nearly reached the average height. Half-Indonesian players such as Rafael Struick, Shayne Pattynama, Ivar Jenner, and Justin Hubner are 1.85 m tall and higher. They are considered the main competition for third place in group D with Vietnam, as Japan and Iraq are predicted to take the first two spots.

Vietnam only have one mixed player who has just been naturalized, goalkeeper Filip Nguyen, who has a Czech mother. He is also the tallest player on the team at 1.92 m.

Vietnam's shortest players are Truong Tien Anh (1.69 m), Nguyen Hai Long (1.68 m), Nguyen Quang Hai (1.66 m) and Le Pham Thanh Long (1.65 m).

The shortest player in the tournament is Omani midfielder Jameel Al-Yahmadi (1.56 m). The only other player under 1.6 m is midfielder Faisal Halim of Malaysia. Both are key players for their respective teams.

The tallest player in the tournament is Australian defender Harry Souttar at 2 m in height. Qatari defender Homam Ahmed is second at 1.99 m. The tallest player in group D is not from Japan or Iran but is Indonesian defender Elkan Baggott at 1.96 m.

Vietnam's average weight is 71.7 kg, higher than Thailand (69.6 kg) and the UAE (70.9 kg). However, this figure is still much lower than the tournament average of 75 kg.

One criterion to evaluate squad experience is the number of appearances players have had for the team. In this index, Vietnam ranked sixth from the bottom, ahead of Indonesia, Australia, Hong Kong, Palestine, and Kyrgyzstan. Vietnamese players have played an average of 17 international matches, including friendlies, while the average for the tournament is 25 matches.

Vietnam's average number of goals per game is only fourth from the bottom, higher than Kyrgyzstan, Hong Kong, and Syria. They scored an average of 1.2 goals, compared to the tournament average of 2.8. The most experienced teams are Iran and host Qatar. Midfielder Hasan Al-Haydos has played the most, with 175 matches for Qatar.

Regarding age, Vietnam are the fourth youngest team at the tournament with an average age of 25.8, after Indonesia (24.8), Tajikistan (25) and Kyrgyzstan (25.4). The average age of the tournament is 27.7, and the oldest team is Lebanon (30.2).

The oldest player in Vietnam is 33-year-old goalkeeper Nguyen Dinh Trieu, and the youngest is 20-year-old midfielder Nguyen Dinh Bac. The oldest player at the tournament is 40-year-old India striker Sunil Chhetri, and he is also the player with the most international goals (93).

Vietnam are one of five teams whose entire roster plays domestically, not abroad. India, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and UAE are the others. The two teams with the most players currently competing abroad are Australia and Japan, with over 20 each.

Vietnam will face Japan on Jan. 14, Indonesia on the 19th and Iraq on the 24th.

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