Injury haunts Vietnam national football team

By Hoang Nguyen   September 11, 2021 | 09:18 pm PT
Injury haunts Vietnam national football team
Midfielder Nguyen Tuan Anh receives a dangerous tackle that leads to his injury in the World Cup qualifiers game between Vietnam and Indonesia on June 7, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
An existing issue with the national team is that even when they are not playing, injuries are frequent, which affects the recent results in World Cup qualifiers.

In the past two years, there were a total of 12 national team players injured during training and competition. Of these, six were anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries and the others, muscle tension and tears. The most severe case is Do Hung Dung, whose leg was broken after a horrendous tackle earlier this year.

These injuries are either resulting from high-intensity activities and collisions during competition and or simply during normal training. Many injuries have been caused due to the heavy international and domestic tournament schedule. However, even with domestic leagues stopped since May (due to Covid-19), injuries have persisted.

In football, a long break without regular competition can also lead to injury, as the body’s flexibility may have decreased and the muscles have relaxed, so facing sudden high-intensity exercise could damage some sensitive muscle groups.

"Normally, we're overloaded when playing V. League and international duties in the same month. But this time, after the domestic league stopped in May, we haven’t been playing that much, so when we returned to the field, some faced muscle tension.

In addition, opponents in the final round of World Cup qualifiers are really strong. Facing the top teams of Asia in every game feels like climbing a mountain, with all players forced to give their best, crossing their endurance threshold, which put them at high risk of injury," a national team player told Thanh Nien newspaper.

Vietnam still have eight games left in the World Cup qualifiers, until March next year, not to mention AFF Cup, expected to take place from Dec. 5 to 31 this year. Therefore, the road ahead remains challenging and the risks of injury ever present.

They had to pay without key defenders Doan Van Hau and Tran Dinh Trong due to injuries in the most recent game against Australia, where they lost 0-1.

Center-back Bui Tien Dung was absent in the previous match against Saudi Arabia, where Vietnam suffered a 1-3 loss, after suffering an injury in a training session.

Former Vietnam national coach Phan Thanh Hung said Vietnam’s opponents in the final round are physically strong and have great stamina. "Competing with such teams can lead to a reduction in stamina and unwanted injuries."

During the preparation last month, the team only trained and played some friendlies with the U22 team, which is not enough to improve their level. If the national team wants to gain more experience and catch up to other stronger opponents in the group, they have to play with teams that have a similar level in physique and stamina.

"Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) should consider contacting some of the teams that were already eliminated in the second qualifying round and set up some friendly matches with them. In October, Vietnam will play two games in the UAE (against China and Oman) and we can find some teams in this area (Middle East) to play and gain experience as well as helping players get more field time before big games.

Another important thing is, we need to avoid putting players on the field when they are not fully recovered as it can make the injuries more severe. Recovery is a very crucial part to make sure an injury won’t return," Hung added.

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