Vietnam will face neighbours Cambodia in their final Group B match tomorrow, after they were forced to a goalless draw with group leaders Indonesia in their third group match on Wednesday night (Dec 15).
The draw makes the Golden Dragons to sit at the second place in Group B with seven points after three games, on par with group leaders Indonesia who have better goal difference.
With the current situation in Group B, gaining 1 more point would be enough for Vietnam to earn the ticket to the semis. However, that is not the goal of Park’s side is aiming for.
In a pre-match briefing on December 18, Park frankly expressed the team’s intention to put all the strength in attacking to win against Cambodia, thereby competing for the first place in the group.
Commenting on the Cambodian opponents, the Korean strategist said: "They had 1 win and 2 losses. After their victory against Laos in the previous matchday, there are on a high streak. Cambodia’s playstyle is always positive, with high consistency. They always play with their own philosophy, passing the ball quickly and accurately.”
“I don't know if they will continue like this tomorrow or switch to defence. Cambodia are strong in counterattack. We are also prepared for such situations. The Vietnamese team will try to play with all their might to win," Park reaffirmed.
Evaluating Vietnam’s past 3 matches in the group stage, Park said: "The other teams usually play defensively against Vietnam, and although we have a lot of possession, it is difficult to score. As in the opening match against Laos, we could only beat them 2-0. The match against Indonesia is similar. We took 21 shots, but only one was on target. The Vietnamese team need to keep attacking and this is a new aspect in our playstyle. The coaching board had a meeting and map out the solutions that will be applied in the next match."
Park also informed that the Vietnamese team did not have any personnel loss when facing Cambodia. Striker Cong Phuong had to retreat after the first half in the previous match with Indonesia but that does not affect his ability to play in the next match.
When asked about the squad for tomorrow's match, Park said: "I plan to rest some players injured or exhausted in the past matches. But the specifics have not been decided yet.”
Head coach Park Hang-seo observes while Vietnamese players are in action during a training camp in preparation for their upcoming group match against Cambodia in the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup, Singapore, December 17, 2021. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
In Group A, Thailand and Singapore are sure to advance after three consecutive wins for each team. One among them would be potential opponents of Vietnam if the defending champions make it to the semi-finals.
When asked about which opponents Park wanted to meet, he said: "It is not possible to say this issue yet, as we have not assured our semi-final ticket. It is important that the players try their best to play against any opponents. It's important to put effort into every match."
Defender Ho Tan Tai also gave his assessment about Cambodia: “We follow Cambodia's matches. They confidently deploy the ball from home field, possess many good individuals, and play counterattacks quite quickly. They are quite good in attack. They scored in every match so far, so Vietnam should be careful and not to let them to score. We need to do this well if we want to get good results.”
“The whole team is preparing like we have in the previous matches. Vietnam respect all opponents and will play carefully to achieve the best results. Our goal is to win to take the first place in the group and earn the direct ticket to the semi-finals."
Coach Park also affirmed that he respects all opponents in Vietnam’s title defending campaign. The preparation for the match against Cambodia is therefore also carefully planned, just like the preparation of the Vietnamese team before any match.
The whole team have analysed the opponent via videotape of their previous matches, from which to develop suitable tactical and personnel plans.
This afternoon, the team will complete the final preparations towards a 3-point goal in the confrontation with Cambodia, which is set to take place at Bishan Stadium in Singapore at 7:30 pm (Vietnam time).
The current rankings in Group B. (Photo: AFF Suzuki Cup)