World Cup qualifiers: Coach Park decides on Vietnam’s 23-member squad against China

Coach Park Hang-seo has selected the best 23 players out of the 27 present in the UAE to play against China in the third qualifying round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian Qualifiers.

Vietnam - ready to surprise China. (Photo: AFC)
Vietnam - ready to surprise China. (Photo: AFC)

Vietnam will play their neighbours China at Sharjah Stadium in the UAE tonight, and Park officially made his decision to omit goalkeeper Nguyen Van Hoang, defender Tran Dinh Trong, midfielder Le Van Xuan and striker Ha Duc Chinh from the squad for the match.

Among them, Dinh Trong is absent because he is not in the best form. Park most likely wants to keep the Hanoi FC player for upcoming matches, and is not in a hurry to use him and then have him suffer an unfortunate injury like was the case of his teammate Doan Van Hau.

The rest are all young faces, mainly facilitated by Park to get acquainted with the Vietnamese team at this time.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese team have no regrettable absences amongst other key players and are ready to play with their strongest squad against China.

It is likely the Korean strategist will not change much of the starting lineup that featured in the last two matches. The Vietnamese team are likely to use their familiar 3-4-3 formation to play the Chinese team.

World Cup qualifiers: Coach Park decides on Vietnam’s 23-member squad against China ảnh 1

The 23-member squad to face China. (Graphics: Trung Hung)

In the first two matches of the third qualifying round, when Vietnam met Saudi Arabia and Australia, Park chose a defensive, counter-attacking strategy with a 5-4-1 formation. This is considered a reasonable choice as the Vietnamese team were touted from the beginning as the weakest team in Group B.

In fact, the formation worked in both matches on many occasions. Vietnam's defence made it difficult for Saudi Arabia and Australia to attack. As a result, Saudi Arabia conceded a goal early and could only win 3-1 against ten-man Vietnam, while Australia only scored 1 goal at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium and won 3 points in the back drop of the controversial decision from the referee to ignore a handball situation that could have granted Vietnam a penalty.

But facing China, the Vietnamese team can choose a different tactic, because China are considered a lesser team than Saudi Arabia and Australia, and Park is likely to return to the familiar 3-4-3 formation.

As Van Lam is injured, the current No. 1 goalie shirt belongs to Bui Tan Truong. The goalkeeper from Hanoi FC will be an important shot stopper for the team.

The three defenders will be captain Que Ngoc Hai, Duy Manh and Bui Tien Dung. The trio have been used by Park for almost the entire qualifying journey. Duy Manh is back after being suspended in the match against Australia, while Bui Tien Dung has recovered from injury.

On both wings, as Trong Hoang and Van Hau are absent due to injury, the two wings of the Vietnamese team are likely to belong to Van Thanh and Hong Duy.

Both of these players have played well when given the opportunity. The best match of this duo was in the match against Indonesia in the second qualifying round in June.

The new central midfield duo that Park will feature is Tuan Anh and Hoang Duc. Hoang Duc is a worthy replacement for the position left by Do Hung Dung who suffered a serious injury last year. The fact that many foreign teams are interested in the Viettel midfielder is proof of his performances.

In the attacking line, Quang Hai will still play on the left wing – his best position in the 3-4-3 formation. The remaining wing will most likely still be given to Phan Van Duc. Although this player has received a lot of criticism after recent lacklustre performances, he is still an important card oft used by Park.

Meanwhile, Tien Linh is definitely the top choice for the central striker position. Currently, he is still the best scorer for the Vietnamese team in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers. Besides, Tien Linh has also been the author of 2 goals to help U22 Vietnam win against China U22 in a friendly match in 2019. Park will put his hopes on the charm of this striker.

If they can maintain their high performance like in the matches against Saudi Arabia and Australia, the Vietnamese team are likely to gain at least 1 point against China, thereby ending their series of defeats against this opponent in the past.

Many Vietnamese football experts believe the Vietnamese team can take all 3 points thanks to their more coordinated play. The Chinese team has not shown much in recent matches with a monotonous and uncoordinated football style, especially in the positions of their naturalised players.

The match will take place at 9pm UAE on October 7 (ie 00:00 on October 8 in Vietnam time). The Chinese team as the hosts have chosen a red uniform, while the Vietnamese team will play in a white jersey.

Vietnam’s projected lineups:
Tan Truong; Duy Manh, Ngoc Hai, Tien Dung; Van Thanh, Hong Duy, Tuan Anh, Hoang Duc; Quang Hai, Van Duc, Tien Linh.