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Vietnam head coach rues elusive World Cup qualifier point

By Lam Thoa, Nhan Dat   November 11, 2021 | 08:12 am PT
Vietnam head coach rues elusive World Cup qualifier point
Coach Park Hang-seo at the press conference after the World Cup qualifier between Vietnam and Japan on November 11, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa
Coach Park Hang-seo admitted Vietnam were having a tough time in the final round of the World Cup qualifiers after losing 0-1 to Japan at home Thursday night.

"Vietnam lost 0-1 to Japan once again, after their most recent encounter in Asian Cup 2019. My players tried their best, but there is still a huge gap in level of the two teams. I can’t make an accurate assessment of Japan’s level, but Vietnam mainly played teams in Southeast Asia and rarely faced opponents like Japan, so we lacked confidence. We need to improve this," Park said at the post-match conference.

Despite the home advantage and support of 12,000 fans, Vietnam couldn’t spring a surprise. The team had just 33 percent of possession and six shots (one on target) in the match. On a positive note, the defenders played well, conceding only the lone goal to Junya Ito in the 17th minute.

"We have lost five games, so pressure is inevitable. Throughout my career, earning one point has never been this difficult. The opponents in this round are too strong. We should keep aiming to advance to the final round next time and achieve better results," Park added.

World Cup qualifiers: Vietnam 0-1 Japan

When asked how Vietnam could close the gap with top teams in Asia, Park said: "We must invest in youth football. Vietnam needs a system for that. I have stayed here for four years and we still haven’t got a great striker. No one from the youth team could get near the level of Nguyen Tien Linh or Ha Duc Chinh.

"That’s just an example. We need to solve that problem. There are a lot of things that need to be done with youth football training. I don’t see many U22 players in the V. League. They don’t get to play, so it’s easy to understand why their level doesn’t go up. The SEA Games next year will be challenging because the youth team might not be able to win it again if they don’t get more playing time. We need a long-term plan to produce good players."

After the game with Saudi Arabia on November 16, Vietnam will start preparing for the AFF Cup.

"Our goal is to defend the AFF Cup title. We will go to train in Singapore after playing Saudi Arabia. Many players are injured and we need to find replacements. We need to keep finding new faces for the team if we want to win the AFF Cup again," the coach said.

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