Vietnam Time

12/25/2018 6:40:51 AM

Can't underestimate Vietnam at Asian Cup 2019: FOX Sports Asia

A year after the resounding victory in the AFC U23 Championships, Vietnamese football is about to enter another major tournament at the continental level - Asian Cup 2019. This time, every rival will have to look at the Vietnamese team with a different eye, stated FOX Sports Asia.

Closing a successful 2018, the Vietnamese team are heading towards new goals in 2019. (Photo: VFF)

The prestigious sports network has run an article commenting on the journey of Vietnamese football in 2018, starting with the final in the snow-covered field at Changzhou Olympic Sports Centre, in Changzhou, China at the AFC U23 tournament, as well as a review of the chances of the Vietnam team at the Asian Cup to be held in UAE next January.

A year ago, few would have thought that a team with relatively low expectations and had just appointed a new coach two months previously could cause a shock by overcoming a host of more-illustrious opponents to reach the final of the AFC U-23 Championship 2018 in China. But when coach Park Hang-seo's side kick off the Asian Cup campaign early next year, it is unlikely that any opposition side would underestimate them.

In a period of only a year, the "Golden Dragons" have risen to affirm their position as one of the emerging teams in the continent, with the latest achievement being the best side in Southeast Asia following their triumphant AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 campaign, FOX Sports Asia wrote.

To put it more simply, Vietnam started in 2018 by eliminating strong rivals such as Australia, Iraq and Qatar to finish runners-up at the AFC U23 tournament, and were only defeated after 120 minutes of the final match with Uzbekistan through a last minute goal by Andrey Sidorov.

FOX Sports Asia also reviewed the success of Vietnam football at the Asian Games 2018 with the fourth place finish for the first time, as well as ending Thailand’s four-year dominance of ASEAN football by emerging as the Suzuki Cup champions earlier this month. Following this success, coach Park deserves to be honoured for leading his players to the second AFF Cup title in history.

Coach Park Hang-seo played a key role behind the success of Vietnamese football in the past year. (Photo: AFF)

Known as the former number one assistant to the famous coach Guus Hiddink, who helped the Korean team win fourth place at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, coach Park Hang-seo has a modern football philosophy. In line with current trends, the Korean tactician’s preference for a flexible 3-4-3 system – a far from common tactical approach in Asia at present – has worked wonders and has elevated Vietnam to a modern outfit playing attractive and enterprising football, FOX Sports stated.

Park’s faith in youth is something that also should not go unnoticed with 12 of his 23-man Suzuki Cup-winning having also been involved at the AFC U23s and Asian Games, and are in the running to make the trip to UAE in January.

Park will now be looking to the likes of Nguyen Quang Hai, Doan Van Hau and Tran Dinh Trong to lead the way forward, but Vietnam’s current golden generation are all in their early 20s, perhaps aiming to go far at Asian Cup 2019 has come one or two tournaments too soon, it said.

However, with the new format of the competition meaning the four-best third-placed teams also qualify for the Round of 16, this is purely a possible goal that the Vietnamese team can aim for in Group D considered the group of death with the participation of Iran, Iraq and Yemen.

“Sterner tests will then await them but given the determination and endeavour they have shown over the past 12 months, a host of quality youngsters, and a forward-thinking coach at the helm, there is no reason why Vietnam cannot claim a few scalps along the way,” FOX Sports Asia asserted./.

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