Vietnam's handling of Indonesia's throw-in confusing: football expert

By Xuan Binh   March 22, 2024 | 08:46 pm PT
ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) commentator Rhysh Rai said that there were three Vietnam players doing nothing during the throw-in that led to Indonesia's goal in the World Cup qualifier clash.

In the 51st minute of the game on Thursday night, left-back Pratama Arhan made a powerful throw-in from 40 m towards Vietnam's box. Defender Rizky Ridho jumped highest and headed the ball backwards. Vietnamese defender Phan Tuan Tai was surprised and headed the ball to the ground. By reflex, his teammate Vo Minh Trong put his foot out to clear it but the ball found Egy Maulana. In an unmarked position, the midfielder easily slotted the ball in from close range and scored the only goal of the match.

Analyzing this situation, Rai told VnExpress: "Indonesia have an overwhelming number of players compared to Vietnam in the box. When Arhan threw the ball, several Vietnam players had to mark two Indonesia players. I don't understand the role of the three players Hoang Duc, Hung Dung and Dinh Bac in this situation, as they were just standing there without marking anyone. Why didn't they support the defense during the throw-in?"

A screenshot of the positions of Do Hung Dung, Nguyen Hoang Duc and Nguyen Dinh Bac in Vietnams conceded goal against Indonesia, at the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on March 21, 2024

A screenshot of the positions of Hung Dung, Hoang Duc and Dinh Bac in Vietnam's conceded goal against Indonesia, at the 2026 World Cup qualifiers on March 21, 2024.

Arhan's throw-in went beyond Hung Dung, Hoang Duc, Pham Xuan Manh and Bui Tien Dung while Indonesia had five players close to the box and Vietnam only had three.

"In such a situation, Vietnam were overwhelmed and couldn’t mark the right player," Rai added. "In set pieces, the player must clear the ball on the first or second attempt, otherwise there will be problems."

Rai is a former Singaporean player, specializing in commentary for Asia's leading English sports channels.

He said it’s also possible that coach Troussier arranged the defense to ensure there are players in every area of the box. However, Indonesian players only focused on standing about 10 m away from the goal, because they believed Arhan could throw that far.

"I don't know how Troussier arranged the defense in this situation, so I'm just saying what I saw," Rai added.

Head coach of Vietnamese club SHB Da Nang Pham Minh Duc said that in set pieces, defenders must always follow and stay close to the opponents, sending tall players to mark those with similar height.

"Defenders need to always stay close to their opponents," Duc added.

A screenshot shows that Pham Xuan Manh and Bui Tien Dung incorrectly predicted where the ball landed

A screenshot shows that Vietnamese defenders Xuan Manh and Tien Dung incorrectly predicted where the ball landed.

After the match, coach Troussier and midfielder Nguyen Thai Son revealed that Vietnam had prepared a lot to deal with Indonesia's throw-ins. This was the third Vietnam, under Troussier, conceded a goal from set pieces against Indonesia. The previous two times took place in the semifinals of SEA Games 32 last year.

Troussier said in a press conference after the match that "The defeat came from an individual error, even though we practiced a lot for such a situation."

"Japan also conceded a goal against Indonesia at the 2023 Asian Cup because of a similar play," he added.

Midfielder Hoang Duc said that the defeat was a mistake by the team because they didn’t mark an Indonesia player.

Vietnam will play Indonesia again at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on March 26.

Under coach Troussier, Vietnam won four games and lost eight, including six friendly matches, scoring 10 goals but conceding 20 times. In official games, the team only won one, a 2-0 victory over Philippines in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Since then, Troussier and his players have gone through a streak of five defeats, including three in the 2023 Asian Cup earlier this year. The biggest defeat to date of Vietnam under Trousser is a 0-6 friendly loss against South Korea in November 2023.

Vietnam's conceded goal against Indonesia at the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, March 21, 2024. Video by FPT Play

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