Vietnam futsal team gets Covid-19 jab ahead of World Cup playoff

By Hoang Nguyen   May 5, 2021 | 02:28 am PT
Vietnam futsal team gets Covid-19 jab ahead of World Cup playoff
A player of the national futsal team is vaccinated against Covid-19 on May 5, 2021. Photo courtesy of Vietnam Football Federation.
All members of the Vietnam national futsal team have got their Covid-19 jabs prior to the World Cup playoffs in the United Arab Emirates.

The vaccination took place Wednesday at the 175 Military Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC). Vaccinated members of the national futsal team include players, coaches and staff.

The team will face Lebanon in the Futsal World Cup playoff, the first leg of which will kick off on May 20 and the second, five days later.

On Tuesday, 22 national futsal team players, including some impressive new faces, were called up by head coach Pham Minh Giang to train at Thai Son Nam Sports Center in HCMC.

The list will be shortened to 14 on May 14 before the team depart for UAE. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the national team can only play friendlies against domestic clubs Thai Son Nam and Sahako.

On April 21, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) handed direct slots to Iran, Japan and Uzbekistan, while Vietnam, Thailand, Iraq, and Lebanon will compete for the remaining two places.

Vietnam had hoped to finish in the top five at 2020 AFC Futsal Championship in Kuwait to qualify for World Cup, but the Covid-19 pandemic caused the tournament to be rescheduled three times before finally being canceled this year.

Therefore, AFC decided to pick the three direct slots and two others through playoffs by combining two sets of criteria. The first is from the top five teams of the most recent continental tournament, AFC Futsal Championship 2018, while the second calculates the top five teams from the overall ranking of the last three editions of AFC Futsal Championship (2014, 2016 and 2018).

The other playoff match is between Iraq and Thailand. Two winners of the playoff will qualify for Futsal World Cup 2021 in Lithuania, scheduled to take place from September 12 to October 3.

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