Vietnam should be realistic in China clash: expert

By Hoai Khong   October 2, 2021 | 08:00 pm PT
Vietnam should be realistic in China clash: expert
U22 Vietnam (white) won 2-0 against U22 China in a friendly on September 8, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Doan Huyn
Former Vietnam Football Federation General Secretary Phan Anh Tu said earning one point in the upcoming World Cup qualifier with China would be more reasonable than three.

"The fans are really anticipating this match and I also heard some opinions that Vietnam should target three points against China. However, we need to look into the reality here. Many of their players are playing overseas, especially Wu Lei (playing for Espanyol in Spain). They are more powerful than us. However, their problem is that they haven't found a suitable style of play. In addition, they might also need to improve on mentality," Tu said.

Both Vietnam and China have failed to earn any point after two games and definitely want to change that in their clash on Oct. 8 (Hanoi time).

"I believe China have learned a lot after two losses. Their target and determination in the game with Vietnam will be really high. Plus the disadvantage in physique and stamina, Vietnam will face many setbacks. Earning a point is perhaps the reasonable target for Vietnam in this game," he said.

Tu also mentioned the absence of right-back Nguyen Trong Hoang due to health problems, who is crucial to Vietnam's defense.

"Missing Trong Hoang is a huge loss for the team. He is great at both offense and defense, really sophisticated and experienced, which is suitable for big matches."

Hoang has been a key player of the team for the past three years.

Tu said China like to attack from the flanks. Their crosses and passes into the box are dangerous. To reduce pressure from the flanks, Vietnam need players who have great teamwork and ball control. The right-back who can replace Hoang is Vu Van Thanh, he said.

Ho Tan Tai is also an option, he has the physique and stamina. But if Vietnam want to counter-attack, Thanh is the suitable choice, he added.

AFF Cup will take place in December after the World Cup qualifiers in November. However, Tu doesn’t think it will affect Vietnam’s preparations for the tournament.

The World Cup qualifiers this year will conclude on Nov. 11, while AFF Cup will start on Dec. 5. Three weeks are enough for Vietnam to prepare for the tournament because the AFF Cup group stage is not difficult. The players will have time to return to form right before the semifinals.

"This is Vietnam’s very first time in the final round of World Cup qualifiers. We get to play stronger teams and have a chance to prove our level. There’s no reason to not focus on it," Tu said.

"For future football development, maintaining form after reaching a new height is really important. Vietnam have played well against Saudi Arabia and Australia and the team still have more to prove."

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