Vietnam tougher opponents than Indonesia: former Iraqi striker

By Hoang An   November 20, 2023 | 01:28 am PT
Vietnam tougher opponents than Indonesia: former Iraqi striker
Former Iraq national striker Arkan Najeeb as a commentator. Photo courtesy of Arkan Najeeb
Former striker Arkan Najeeb said Iraq need to be careful with Vietnam, an opponent that he believes is tougher than Indonesia and also has home advantage in the World Cup second qualifying round.

Najeeb attended the U20 World Cup with Iraq in 2001 and played for the national team a year later. At the time he debuted for the team, Iraq placed 69th in FIFA ranking, 39 places higher than Vietnam. Currently, Vietnam has climbed to 94th, narrowing the gap to 26 places. Meanwhile, Indonesia are 145th and lost 5-1 to Iraq in the opening match of group F last week.

"Vietnam are more difficult to play than Indonesia and I'm worried about Iraq's defense," the 41-year-old former striker told Iraqi newspaper Dzair Sport, adding that Iraq still have many problems such as missing key players.

Former Iraq U19 coach Hassan Ahmad also said that the team need to be careful at My Dinh Stadium.

"Iraq must watch Vietnam closely because they beat the Philippines and will get to play at home," Ahmad told local media. "Iraq need to consider all factors affecting the match, including the weather in Hanoi."

The temperature in Basra, Iraq currently ranges from 18 to 26 degrees Celsius, similar to Hanoi.

The match between Vietnam and Iraq takes place at 7 p.m., so the temperature can drop to near its lowest point. Both teams won their first match, so this game could decide the top position in Group F.

According to Arabic newspaper Winwin, coach Casas is aiming for a win as he does not think a draw will be enough.

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