Vietnam needs to gear up for 48-team World Cup: coach Park

By Hoang Nguyen   May 7, 2019 | 05:00 am PT
Vietnam needs to gear up for 48-team World Cup: coach Park
Coach Park Hang-seo at a training of the national football team. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Khoa
Coach Park Hang-seo said Vietnam should prepare thoroughly for a spot in the next World Cup if it’s expanded to 48 teams.

On June 5, FIFA will hold a meeting in Paris for a final vote on increasing the maximum number of teams in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from 32 to 48.

While the chances for a 48-team World Cup in 2022 is 50/50, head coach Park Hang-seo says Vietnam needs to be prepared for the eventuality.

"If a 48-team World Cup comes true, it will be a great motivation for everyone, from the federation to the players and myself. We need to prepare and have a specific plan to able to grab this chance," Park told the press at a conference last week.

He said more experts were needed in the team, as he himself only has expertise in training.

"We need a system of other experts in different fields such as nutrition, fitness and health for the team. This is a very important issue and together, we need to find the best solutions for it," Park said, as cited by Tuoi Tre.

He also revealed briefly the upcoming plan for the national and U22 teams.

The national team will participate in King’s Cup 2019 in June as they’ve accepted the invitation from the host Thailand. The tournament is a chance for Vietnam to prepare for the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Meanwhile, the U22 team will start training for SEA Games 30 in the Philippines this year. From June to September, the U22 team will have a training period each month, lasting seven to 10 days. From October, the team will focus solely on preparing for SEA Games 30.

Park said he will try to close the level gap between the national team players and the young and new faces of the U22 team.

Europe tour

As reported earlier, the federation has arranged a Europe trip for Park to scout for players of Vietnamese origin playing in the European leagues.

Park watch a game in Norway on Sunday between Nest-Sotra Fotball and Sandefjord to see the performance of Vietnamese-Norwegian striker Alexander Dang, who has two goals after five games this season for Nest-Sotra.

Nest Sotra lost 1-2 in the match where Dang did not win coach Park's love at first sight. He had one shot on the goal in the 77th minute which could not break the opponents' defense. 

"I will have to see more of him," Park told Vietnam Football Federation after the trip. He has asked assistants to collect footage of the club's other matches.

Coach Park is also checking out other Vietnamese-origin players including Vietnamese-Czech goalkeeper Filip Nguyen of Slovan Libere and Vietnamese-French full back Jason Quang Vinh Pendant, who is playing for French club Sochaux FC.

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