For the first time ever, Vietnam are to host the Socceroos at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium tomorrow evening in their second match within the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers, with Australia having had a comfortable 3-0 win over China in Doha last Friday, while Vietnam lost 3-1 to hosts Saudi Arabia in their opener on the same day.
Speaking at a pre-match brief on September 6, Park said Australia are strong but Vietnam has a deep survey on them.
“We have studied the Australian team very carefully. They played 8 qualifying matches, scored 28 goals and conceded only 2 goals. They are very powerful opponents with experienced players in the top leagues around the world,” the Korean strategist said.
Against such a strong team, even though Vietnam have gone 17 games unbeaten when playing at My Dinh, Park is still cautious.
“I do not guarantee a good result in tomorrow's match because Australia are in the top 5 in Asia. But we will do our best. Tomorrow's match is also the first match between Vietnam and Australia at the national team level, so it's very meaningful.”
“Currently in the FIFA rankings we are the lowest among the teams in the World Cup Qualifiers. All the teams we meet are tough opponents. Last game we scored first but lost after receiving a red card, but the players tried their best. Tomorrow, Vietnam will continue to fight hard to somehow to get good results," said Park.
Vietnam will be without key defender Duy Manh due to the red card in the previous game, while central back Dinh Trong is also out due to a physical issue. Park has summoned two defenders Bui Tien Dung and Nguyen Thanh Chung as replacement, but both seem not to have fully recovered from their injuries in time.
Regarding the issue, Park said: "Currently, Bui Tien Dung and Nguyen Thanh Chung are both on the list of 23 registered player for the match. This decision is not only made by me, but also in consultation with the medical staff. We have also received immediate advice on the injury status of the other players who are on the new list announced today."
Head coach Park Hang-seo and midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc at the pre-match brief. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc also vowed to try his best in tomorrow's match. “Meeting the top Asian team like Australia brings excitement to me and my teammates. I promise to perform to the best of my ability and follow the instructions of the coach. Vietnam are in good spirit and agility. We will show our qualities to try to get a good result against Australia."
“Before the match, the coaching staff will come up with the most specific strategy. We will apply the right tactics as the coach requires. This is the qualifying round for the strongest Asian teams. Therefore, the pressure for Vietnam is very great. We will have to work harder to support the defence.”
Australia's coach Graham Arnold said that his team respect all opponents, including Vietnam, and his players are ready for tomorrow's game.
He added that their top focus is on how to play in tomorrow's match to win. Australia beat China in their opener, which is advantageous for them ahead of the next match against Vietnam, he said.
Tonight, the Vietnamese team will have an official training session at My Dinh National Stadium to complete the final preparations for the game against Australia – the team that has won the Asian championship and participated in the World Cup 5 times.
Earlier today, Park officially made a decision on the registration list of 23 Vietnamese players to play against Australia.
Accordingly, Vietnam have 3 changes compared to the previous match against Saudi Arabia, as Do Duy Manh, Tran Dinh Trong and Truong Van Thiet are replaced by Bui Tien Dung, Bui Hoang Viet Anh and defender Tran Van Kien.
The match will take place at 19:00 on September 7 at My Dinh National Stadium. The Golden Star Warriors will play in their traditional red outfit. This is also the first match in Vietnamese football history to have the support of video assistant referee (VAR) technology applied at My Dinh.