Vietnamese football must target World Cup qualification: Fox Sports editor

By Xuan Binh, Thang Nguyen   November 28, 2018 | 01:18 am PT
This is the golden generation of Vietnamese football and they must aim to qualify for the World Cup, a Fox Sports expert says.

On Saturday, Vietnam qualified for the semi-finals of the AFF Cup 2018 by topping group A with a 3-0 win over Cambodia.

Fox Sports football editor Gabriel Tan praised the victory and said Vietnam should take this chance and set themselves the goal of World Cup qualification in the future.

"Given that this is undoubtedly a golden generation, Vietnamese football must look to make the most of this rare opportunity and aim to qualify for a future World Cup; or the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo at the very least, has to be a target," Tan wrote.

Vietnamese players celebrate the 3-0 victory over Cambodia. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Vietnamese players celebrate their 3-0 victory over Cambodia at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 on November 24. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Tan also believed Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo deserved credit for putting his faith in youth at AFF Cup 2018.

"At 59, Park is by no means a young coach, but in just over a year in charge of the team, he has already shown a real affinity with youth. From his 23-man squad, 15 players are only 23 years or younger. Still, for a side tipped to challenge for top honors, there is something special about Vietnam attempting to do it with such a youthful-looking side," he wrote.

"But the confidence they possess has to have to come from somewhere... a coach’s faith in them," Tan added.

Head coach Park Hang-seo on the sideline in the game with Cambodia. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Head coach Park Hang-seo during the game AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 game with Cambodia on November 24. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong

Fox Sports has predicted that in the FIFA rankings of Southeast Asian teams after the AFF championship ends on December 15, Vietnam can end up in 100th position.

While Thailand won Group B of the AFF Suzuki Cup, Vietnam won Group A.

The report noted that Vietnam were put alongside Malaysia, Myanmar, Cambodia, and Laos, and progressed to the knockout stages without losing a single game. They were also the only side not to concede a single goal throughout the entire group stage.

In the latest FIFA rankings in September, Vietnam’s national football team was ranked 102nd, giving it the first place in Southeast Asia and 17th in Asia.

Vietnam will play its next AFF Cup match against the Philippines, in the first leg of their semifinal encounter. The match will be played in the Philippines on Sunday, December 2.

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