World Cup qualifers: Vietnam vs Malaysia game postponed over Covid-19 fears

By Hoang Nguyen   March 9, 2020 | 07:06 pm PT
World Cup qualifers: Vietnam vs Malaysia game postponed over Covid-19 fears
Nguyen Quang Hai scores from a volley in the 1-0 victory of Vietnam against Malaysia in World Cup qualifiers on October 10, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Both the world and regional football governing bodies, FIFA and AFC, have agreed to delay upcoming World Cup 2022 qualifier games.

In particular, the World Cup qualifiers originally scheduled to take place during the international window of 23-31 March 2020 and 1-9 June 2020 in Asia have been postponed to later dates. This includes the highly anticipated group G clash between Vietnam and Malaysia.

"FIFA and the AFC will discuss further details of the postponed matches. Due to this change, the Vietnam national football team will cancel their training plan as well as the friendly match with Kyrgystan," said Tran Quoc Tuan, Vice President of Vietnam Football Federation (VFF).

As per the original schedule, Vietnam was to play Malaysia on March 31, Indonesia on June 4 and UAE on June 9.

FIFA and the AFC have also agreed to postpone the AFC Futsal Championship 2020 in Turkmenistan until 5-16 August 2020. The AFC tournament serves as qualifiers for the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2020 to be held in Lithuania.

FIFA and the AFC will continue to assess the situation in relation to Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, and will decide whether further changes to the schedule of World Cup 2022 qualifiers are required, in order to ensure safety and health of all individuals involved.

Postponing the qualifiers could well be an advantage of Vietnam, with several key players suffering injuries and others out of form after a long break.

After five games, Vietnam have been unbeaten with 11 points, topping group G. They will advance to the final qualification round if they can acquire seven points in the remaining three matches.

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