>> Park Hang-seo finalises Vietnam squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers
The Golden Star Warriors will face neighbours China on Matchday Three in the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers this October 7. With both having lost their opening two games, their upcoming clash promises to be extremely fierce as the two sides will certainly fight hard for an inaugural win.
“It is clear that after two losses, Vietnam are under pressure to get good results against both China and Oman, particularly as they are our closest rivals in terms of finishing in the top three of Group B. Given that fact, we are very motivated to do well in these matches,” Tien Linh told the-AFC.com.
“But this is the first time we have been at this stage of the qualifiers, so we have to learn from the experience of playing better teams. We always prepare thoroughly for each game and play with the highest competitive spirit,” the 23-year-old forward said.
According to the-AFC.com, Vietnam’s performance in a difficult group was one of the biggest stories of the second round of qualifiers as a much talked about generation of players finished above regional rivals Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia – and claimed a notable scalp in the UAE – to advance to the final round for the first time.
The AFC’s website hailed Becamex Binh Duong striker Tien Linh as being among the stars of the show, netting the only goal of the game against the UAE in Hanoi and scoring five times to help the Golden Star Warriors progress as one of the five best-placed runners-up.
“Every player in every position is under pressure, but we always encourage and support each other to get over the pressure,” said Tien Linh
He voiced his determination to perform well in the coming clashes. “The matches in the final qualifying phase are more difficult than those in the second phase. All of our opponents are ranked higher than Vietnam, so scoring is of course a big challenge.”
“I’m trying to improve. As a striker, absolutely, my aim is to get on the scoresheet and I will try to do that. But the team's strength is from unity, determination and spirit, and that is what helps us stay strong,” he added.
Regarding Vietnam’s inferior head-to-head record against China, Tien Linh emphasised: “I think we don’t need to worry about the statistics because things change through time; it is true that we have never beaten China in a full international, but that is not the story at this moment.”
“After two losses, China are also facing pressure to win and keep their chances alive in Group B. They are ranked higher than Vietnam so the pressure on them is bigger than us.”
Tien Linh highly appreciated midfielder Wu Lei on the Chinese side, reminding Vietnam’s defence must remain focused to prevent him from causing problems.
However, he also affirmed that Vietnam have made thorough preparations and will try to play well to meet home fans’ expectations.
The clash between China and Vietnam will take place at Sharjah Stadium, UAE at 9pm local time on October 7 (00:00am on October 8 Vietnamese time).