The national squad had their first training session in Hanoi on August 27 in preparation for their Group G opener against hosts Thailand early next month. Before the training session, head coach Park shared with the local press on his team's focus.
The Korean strategist said: “For me, every tournament is stressful. I know the Vietnamese people are looking forward to the match against Thailand. My colleagues and I and the players always understand this waiting. I cannot say the results in advance, but we will try to get the best.”
Explaining the decision to summon two key wingers Van Hau and Trong Hoang despite both being injured, Park said that Hoang and Hau could jog yesterday and their recovery is progressing well. “If the team’s doctors say they can play, I'll take them to Thailand,” the 60-year-old stated.
Responding to the question about striker Van Quyet’s absence from the 27-man preliminary squad despite his good shape in the shirt of Hanoi FC, or the case of striker Cong Phuong who has not played much for Belgium side Sint-Truidense V.V. but was still selected by Park, or the absence of Ho Tuan Tai, who is currently the top domestic scorer in the V.League 1, Park said he always cares about Van Quyet and Tuan Tai, but the coaching staff had to make a decision and the number of goals is important but not the only criteria for selection.
“For Cong Phuong, he has played regularly for Sint-Truidense U21 team. We still keep in touch. Phuong is still in good form without injury. He will fly from Belgium to Thailand to join with the team on September 2 because the clubs release players on the right day due to FIFA's rules. Not only Vietnam, but Thailand too has three players who are playing in Japan that will arrive home late. The time zone difference can be influential, but we will confirm Phuong’s performance. Until now, he is still in good form," Park affirmed.
Coach Park Hang-seo and his players duirng the first training session to prepare for the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
Giving his respect to Thailand – Vietnam’s first opponents in Group G, which includes favourites UAE and two familiar foes Malaysia and Indonesia, coach Park said: “Currently, Thailand have three players playing in J1 League, including Chanathip Songkrasin. He didn't play at King’s Cup last June, but we watched how he played in the 2019 Asian Cup. We also watched videos of Chanathip quite a lot. It can be said that Vietnam must be vigilant with this player.”
Park also mentioned Thai new coach, Japanese Akira Nishino, who led Japan to the last 16 in last year’s FIFA World Cup. “I know Nishino quite well. He led teams in the J1 League. When he was still a player, Nishino was also considered a promising player. He is a good coach but one thing to mention is that he has never led any team to compete in the World Cup qualifiers.”
The Vietnam’s squad will practice at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre in Hanoi until September 1. A group of players from Hanoi FC will gather with their teammates on August 29 due to the 2019 AFC Cup fixtures. Defender Que Ngoc Hai continues to be trusted as the team’s captain, while the two vice-captains are Do Hung Dung and Nguyen Van Toan.
Park will shorten the 27-member list to the official 23 men on September 1, before leaving for Thailand. The Golden Stars will play the War Elephants at the 25,000-seater Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit, Pathum Thani, on September 5.
Vietnam upbeat for a good result in their opener against Thailand.