Going for broke the way to go, asserts Vietnam's football coach

By Tuan Hoang   August 23, 2018 | 01:05 am PT
Going for broke the way to go, asserts Vietnam's football coach
Head coach Park Hang-seo (in red) directs Vietnamese players in a training session to prepare for their game against Bahrain on Thursday night. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
With Bahrain in his sights, Vietnam’s football coach has defended tactics in the previous Asiad 2018 game against Japan.

Head coach Park Hang-seo of the Vietnamese men’s football team said he has watched Bahrain’s previous matches in the ongoing Asian Games and noted that they have an attacking style, “great focus and body balance.”

Vietnam will have a suitable tactic for the upcoming match and look to exploit any weakness they spot, he said, without elaborating.

Talking with the media, Park also defended firmly the going-for-broke strategy deployed in the previous game against Japan in a relatively inconsequential encounter, saying he never wants Vietnamese fans to see their national team lose.

Vietnam took the top spot in group D after a 1-0 victory against Japan last Sunday. While fans were euphoric about their team beating a stronger (on paper), more fancied opponent, many questioned the tactic of fielding a full strength side in a match instead of conserving the team’s strength for more important encounters ahead.

Vietnam had already made it to the next round before the match against Japan.

An unfortunate injury in the match that ruled out a key defender, Do Hung Dung, out of the tournament added fuel to the criticism.

“Some people have said we wasted too much stamina for this match since we were already in the next round. But you need to know that every match will consume the energy of players. And we still had three days off to recover, so I think stamina is not a problem for us,” Park said.

“I also wanted to take the match as an opportunity to beat Japan, since we have never beaten them in the past. This is the first time Vietnam has beaten Japan in an official tournament, breaking what they call ‘precedent’ in football. Furthermore, I never want Vietnamese fans to see their national team lose, that’s why I brought the strongest formation to the field.”

“It’s unfortunate that Dung was injured and it might tactically affect us. But we cannot predict injuries.

"Nguyen Quang Hai has no problem and has trained with us as usual,” he said, referring to one of Vietnam's main strikers.

Father figure

As the match against Bahrain neared, center back Tran Dinh Trong posted an eight-second video online showing head coach Park giving him a massage because he was having a stamina problem. The video was titled “a considerate coach.”

Coach Park Hang-seo is seen in a video massaging player Tran Dinh Trong ahead of the game against Bahrain.

Coach Park Hang-seo is seen in a video massaging player Tran Dinh Trong ahead of the game against Bahrain.

South Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily published a screenshot from the video, commenting, “Head coach Park Hang-seo is like a father to Vietnamese players. He seems sleepy on the bench but on the field, he treats the players like his sons.”

Head-to-head record

Asked about Vietnam’s chances against Bahrain, Park said: “Of course I cannot predict the result, but we always aim for a win and prepare for everything. What if we scored first or what if they scored first? We just have to prepare for all possibilities."

Meanwhile, Bahrain head coach Samir Chamnam said he wants a victory against Vietnam this evening.

“This team is the hope of Bahrain and I hope they will defeat Vietnam to go to the quarter-finals,” he said.

In the group stage, Vietnam scored three wins and conceded zero goals while Bahrain struggled to be the best team in third place, conceding 10 goals.

In head-to-head clashes between the two teams, Vietnam has four wins against Bahrain’s one.

The match will be played at Patriot Candrabhaga, West Java, Indonesia at 7:30 p.m., GMT+7. It will be Vietnam's first Asiad football match to be aired live on TV, after the country acquired broadcasting rights on Tuesday.

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