World Cup qualification: Vietnam is confident in making surprises

Vietnam will face Iraq on the early morning of June 12 (Vietnam time) in their final match in Group F within the second round of the 2026 World Cup qualification. Although the chances are slim, Kim Sang-sik’s team still has an opportunity to advance to the third round.
Vietnamese players are actively training in Basra for the match against Iraq.
Vietnamese players are actively training in Basra for the match against Iraq.

With a 3-2 win over the Philippines in Hanoi on June 6, Vietnam currently rank third in Group F with six points, one point behind second-placed Indonesia. The Philippines, with only one point, are surely disqualified, while Iraq are leading the group with 15 points and have already qualified for the third round.

In this situation, Vietnam’s chance to advance depends on the outcome of the Indonesia-Philippines clash. If Indonesia win, Vietnam will be disqualified.

In the event that Indonesia tie with the Philippines, Vietnam must beat Iraq to have nine points, one point above Indonesia. If Indonesia lose, Vietnam will only need a draw with Iraq to advance to the next round, thanks to better goal difference.

With a narrow window, Vietnamese fans do not expect that their team will go through, but what they do expect is a good game against Iraq to maintain confidence after the opening win under the new coach.

After getting two yellow cards, striker Nguyen Van Toan will not be present in the match against Iraq, however Vietnam will see the return of Bui Hoang Viet Anh.

Facing a much stronger Iraq, which possess players with very good physical strength, speed and personal techniques, coach Kim Sang-sik has focused the whole team on defence and counterattack training. In attack, Tien Linh is expected to continue shining after scoring two goals in the clash against the Philippines.

In the meantime, along with Hoang Duc and Hung Dung, Quang Hai is also expected to create smart assists in the middle of the pitch.

In the first-leg match against Iraq in November 2023, Quang Hai could not play due to injury, but in the upcoming game, coach Kim Sang-sik will surely put him on the field after recognising the inspirations and surprises that this midfielder can provide for Vietnam’s attack.

Quang Hai also expressed his strong determination, stating that he has confidence in himself and will do his utmost if given the chance. He added that he and his teammates will try their best to create an exciting game and achieve a good result for Vietnamese fans.

After his debut win against the Philippines, coach Kim Sang-sik expressed confidence in his players, who he said have adjusted to the weather and pitch conditions in Basra and are trying their best to prepare for the match against Iraq.

In Basra, Kim repeatedly reminded his students: “Our goal is very clear, so I hope everyone will think positively and unite. I want you to manage yourselves to be in the best shape when entering the match with Iraq. The team with better preparations and stronger aspiration will win. I think we can create a miracle.”

Although the Iraqis are having more advantages than Vietnamese players, especially when they are playing at home, coach Kim Sang-sik still hopes that the Vietnamese players will put on a good performance in tomorrow morning’s match.