AFF Suzuki Cup: Vietnam beatable, says Philippines’ coach

By Lam Thoa   December 2, 2018 | 11:41 am GMT+7

Vietnam is a formidable opponent but beatable, asserts coach Sven-Goran Eriksson of the Philippines ahead of their semifinal clash. 

"We highly appreciate Vietnam and respect them, but Philippines is also a strong team," Eriksson said at a pre-match press conference for the first leg of the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinal between Vietnam and the Philippines to be played Sunday.

Eriksson is a high profile football coach and the most famous coach in AFF Cup this year, having coached professional football clubs like Manchester City, Benfica, SS Lazio and AS Roma, as well as national football teams of England, Mexico and Ivory Coast.

He said he knew that Vietnamese football has been enjoying a successful run of late.

"...I have watched many of their matches, including all of their games in the group stage. Vietnam is a good team in both defense and offense, and they are very well-organized," Eriksson said.

He said some of the standout players in the Vietnamese side could play for some European football clubs.

Head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Head coach Sven-Goran Eriksson. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

But Eriksson was also confident of a victory for the Philippines.

"It’s hard to beat Vietnam, but we can do it. We know what we’re doing. Philippines will have a great game," he said.

Philippines captain Phil Younghusband said the goal was to defeat Vietnam in Bacolod.

"We must beat Vietnam if we want to write history," he said.

On the Vietnamese side, head coach Park Hang-seo was not fazed by the Philippines having a world class coach.

"Eriksson is a world class coach. However, that doesn’t mean Vietnam must be afraid of Philippines. Vietnam will play on the opponent’s field and it will be challenging. But we are well prepared and ready to show our best," Park said.

The two head coaches shake hands in pre-match conference. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

The two head coaches shake hands in pre-match conference. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Two Vietnamese players, Doan Van Hau and Do Duy Manh said that Vietnam has prepared a special strategy to face the Philippines, and that they believe in a good result for Vietnam.

Philippines has been the dark horse of the AFF Cup this year. Under Eriksson’s lead, they finished second in group B, above stronger teams like Indonesia and Singapore, to qualify for the semis.

After the first leg in the Philippines's Bacolod on December 2, the second leg of the semifinal will be played at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on December 6.

 
 
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