Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
After two goalless draws in their first two Group D matches, against the UAE and Jordan, Vietnam now stand in third place with two points, behind group leaders UAE and Jordan with four points each.
Without a point, DPR Korea have been eliminated after two consecutive losses and will now face their Vietnamese peers in the last group match later today as both sides all seek their first win at the Thailand-based tournament.
One day after arriving in Bangkok from Buriram, Vietnam had their first and only training camp in Bangkok on Wednesday afternoon to prepare for their last group match against DPR Korea this evening. The training session lasted for about one hour and a half, from 5 pm to 6:30 pm on the Alpine 2 field, the training ground managed by the Football Association of Thailand that has been used by both the Thai national team and the Thai U23 side.
Before his training session, captain Quang Hai met with the press. He said that his team would try their best and are more determined to win in their last group game against DPR Korea later today.
Vietnam U23 players in action during their training session in Bangkok, January 15, 2020. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
Giving his assessment of their next opponents, the Hanoi FC’s star midfielder showed his respect for the East Asian side. “Despite having lost in the last two matches, they are not a weak team but have strong playing style and strong determination. Vietnam will have to fight harder and be more determined to win,” Hai told reporters as quoted from the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF)’s website.
After two stalemate draws, Vietnam are facing a range of difficulties as not only must they beat DPR Korea but they also have to rely on the results of the remaining match between UAE and Jordan to know their fate, with both matches to be played at 8:15 pm this evening.
Quang Hai himself acknowledged that Vietnam need to overcome their limitations, especially in scoring ability as shown in the previous two matches. “We still have some limitations that need to improve. For example, we have to make more decisive decisions and fire more shots to improve the attack in the upcoming match,” Hai said.
Although having lost the right to determine their fate, Vietnamese players are showing their determination to play with 100% of their ability and fight until the end when there is a little hope for them to progress. As hosts Thailand have become the first representative of Southeast Asian football to reach quarter-finals in Group A, it will further motivate coach Park Hang-seo’s side in their last Group D game against DPR Korea.
Before Vietnam’s training session yesterday afternoon, VFF Standing Vice Chairman Tran Quoc Tuan delivered a letter of encouragement from Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the whole team. In the letter, which was read to the team by Tuan, PM Phuc wished the “Golden Star Warriors” to be confident and fight for the national colour to gain a win in their last group match.
VFF Standing Vice Chairman Tran Quoc Tuan (far left) reads a letter of encouragement from the Prime Minister before Vietnam U23s’ training session in Bangkok, on the afternoon of January 15, 2020. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
On behalf of his team, captain Quang Hai expressed his emotion upon receiving the attention and sentiment from the PM as well as Vietnamese fans, who all have always been on their side at the Thailand-based tournament. That would be a great motivation to add strength to the team in the journey ahead, especially the important match against DPR Korea, Hai said.
The match against DPR Korea will play an important role in deciding the ticket to the quarterfinals for Vietnam. Coach Park Hang-seo’s side need a win over their next opponents while having to wait to see if the UAE – Jordan clash will end in their favour.
Both matches in the Group D’s last matchday will take place at 8:15 pm tonight (January 16), with Vietnam playing DPR Korea at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok, while Jordan will face UAE at Buriram Stadium in Buriram.