Stronger the opponent, higher the spirit: Vietnam coach

By Lam Thoa   July 1, 2021 | 03:54 am PT
Stronger the opponent, higher the spirit: Vietnam coach
Vietnam players celebrate their first goal in a World Cup qualification game against Malaysia on June 11, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Coach Park Hang-seo said one of the greatest strengths of his wards was their mental strength, especially against stronger opponents.

Giving his take on the situation after the draw of the World Cup final qualification round was announced Thursday, Park said: "In group B, all teams are stronger than us. We will come prepared for each game with a humble heart, a challenging spirit and we will try our best.

"Each team in group B have their own style of play. This is an opportunity for Vietnam to learn and develop as we prepare for these games."

The draw put Vietnam in the same group with Japan, Australia, China, Saudi Arabia and Oman. All the opponents are placed higher than Vietnam in FIFA World Ranking.

"This is the first time that Vietnam are in the final World Cup qualification round. We will take each game at a time. The biggest strength of Vietnam is the mentality of the players, especially when facing stronger opponents.

"The stronger the opponent, the higher the spirit," Park said.

Group A has Iran, South Korea, the UAE, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon.

The 12 teams will play home-and-away round-robin matches. The top two teams of each group will qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and the two third-placed teams will advance to the Asian playoff to battle for a spot in the intercontinental playoff.

The final round of World Cup qualifiers is scheduled to be played on Sept. 2 and 7, Oct. 7 and 12, Nov. 11 and 16, 2021, as well as Jan. 27 and Feb. 1, March 24 and 29, 2022.

The national team will gather for training in August before playing their first game of the final round against Saudi Arabia on Sept. 2.

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