Vietnam coach wants victory in debut game against Philippines

By Hieu Luong, Lam Thoa   June 5, 2024 | 10:08 pm PT
Vietnam coach wants victory in debut game against Philippines
Vietnam coach Kim Sang-sik speaks at a press conference before the Vietnam-Philippines game in the World Cup qualifiers on June 5, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Hieu Luong
Vietnam coach Kim Sang-sik showed determination to beat Philippines in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers Thursday night, his debut game with the national football team.

Kim became Vietnam national head coach on May 6 and is the second South Korean in history to do so, after Park Hang-seo. The 47-year-old coach could not avoid comparisons with his South Korean predecessor, who had a successful spell with Vietnamese football from 2017 to 2023.

"Seven years ago, Park made his debut for Vietnam with a 0-0 draw with Afghanistan in the 2019 Asian Cup qualifiers," Kim said. "At the moment, even though I'm under a lot of pressure, I want to win my debut game with the team. Vietnam play at home and we want to get the best result and bring joy to the fans."

To prepare for the match against the Philippines, Kim called up 27 players and started training on June 1. He admitted that five days of training was too short, and he tried his best to show his style and tactics to the team. Kim also noted that the Vietnamese players were quick learners, which is an advantage for his team to aim for victory at My Dinh Stadium.

Vietnam are currently at the bottom of group F with three points after four matches, only two above the bottom-ranked Philippines. The opportunity for Kim and his team to squeeze through the narrow gap and advance to the next round is almost non-existent, as the team are four points behind second place Indonesia and still have to play an away game against Iraq, the team that already advanced to the next qualifying round.

However, coach Kim believed that the team will give their maximum effort to end their losing streak of seven games.

Philippine coach Tom Saintfiet is also confident and wants Philippines to leave My Dinh Stadium with three points.

"I know the strength of Vietnam under the previous coach, but not now," he said. "Philippines lost the first leg but are well-prepared for the second. With good spirit from the team, I hope Philippines will get the desired result. There will be players who have the first game for Philippines in this one. The naturalized players may not speak the same language but they still can communicate. They will fight with their heart and soul for the country and the color of their jersey."

The match between Vietnam and Philippines will take place on Thursday at 7 p.m. (Hanoi time) and will be reported live on VnExpress International.

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