Heavy snow threatens to delay Vietnam vs Uzbekistan U23 Asian Cup final

By Ha Do   January 26, 2018 | 08:14 pm PT
The organizer will make an announcement just an hour before the game, which is scheduled for 3p.m. today.

Vietnam's footballers are set for freezing conditions when they step out in the final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship on Saturday afternoon.

Temperatures have been falling in China's Changzhou City, and heavy snow is threating to delay the game against Uzbekistan that is due to take place at 3 p.m. Vietnam time.

The AFC will make an announcement by 2 p.m. Vietnam time on whether kickoff will be delayed, Le Hoai Anh, general secretary of the Viet Nam Football Federation, told local media.

Snow has been falling in Changzhou since late Friday, and the entire city was blanketed in white on Saturday morning.

The temperature in the city is expected to stay between minus 9 degrees Celsius and 1 degree, according to weather forecasting app AccuWeather.

Experts said China is going through its coldest spell since 1986.

The AFC had yet to make a decision on delaying the game by 9:30 a.m. Vietnam time on Saturday, but it has appealed to fans to wrap up warm even when they're in the stadium.

Workers are still trying to clear the snow from the ground.

Workers are working round the clock to clear the snow from the ground. Photo by VnExpress

Workers are working round the clock to clear the snow from the ground. Photo by VnExpress

Vietnam's players have been kitted out with new boots with extra studs to help them play in the snowy conditions.

The cold weather is more likely to suit Uzbekistan, where temperatures in December average -8 degrees Celsius, rather than tropical Vietnam.

Vietnamese striker Cong Phuong said most of the players have never played in the snow before.

"This is real difficult. But we have no other way but to try harder," he said.

Given the strength and pace of the Uzbek players, Vietnam is considered the underdog for this historic game. The team has risen like a bright star at the championship by becoming the first Southeast Asian side ever to make it to the quarterfinals of the AFC U23 along with Malaysia, and then continuing through to the final.

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