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11/06/2024 - 15:57

Vietnam determined for win over Iraq despite big challenges

Head coach of the Vietnamese national football team Kim Sang-sik appreciated Iraq but believed Vietnam still have the chance despite playing on away ground at the 2026 World Cup qualification match on June 12 in Basra.

Vietnamese players practise on June 10 in Basra in preparation for the match versus hosts Iraq at the 2026 World Cup qualification match on June 12. (Photo: VFF)

It is said an un-balanced game as Iraq are world No 58 while Vietnam place No 115. The host side have won all five matches at the tournament to top Group F and qualified for the next stage while Vietnam secured only two wins for a third place and need great efforts and luck to reach the third qualification.

Vietnam lost 0-1 to Iraq in the first leg match last November. Two months they suffered a 2-3 defeat to Iraq at the Asian Cup.

"When Vietnam lost two previous matches, I was not head coach of the team. I watched these games carefully and prepared for my team," Kim said at the press briefing on June 10.

"Iraq currently have high performance and are strong in both physical and tactical aspects. We watch and analyze them carefully, single out players who need to be taken care of. In particular, their Aymen Hussein is a sharp forward, we have to keep eyes on him."

The coach knew in addition to powerful rivals, his players would also face with the hot weather that would strongly affect their performance, and heavy pressure from local supporters.

But the 47-year-old tactician repeated four times that Vietnam still had the opportunity to win.

"Through a win against the Philippines, we saw the possibility of going forward. We travel to Iraq with a little hope after prepared very well to face a very strong rival who are with 65,000 spectators," Kim said.

"We have been here for two days. It is very hot and it is difficult to adapt to this condition. But we come here with a goal of winning. Vietnamese players are strong in their mind and we are trying the best to overcome difficulties. We will play well tomorrow."

Accompany with Kim at the briefing was defender Bui Hoang Viet Anh who could not play in the previous match due to his bookings. Anh knew the challenges but was confident for a good result.

"It will be not easy match but we have made up plans for the match. Iraq are strong but we are determined. We will maximize our abilities to achieve a win," he said.

Although the result would not affect Iraq's next round place, coach Jesus Casas aimed to end their campaign with a perfect six victories.

He said the match with Vietnam would be as important as any other. Iraq wanted to get every possible point. It would be the last qualifying round match and the team wanted to make supporters happy with a victory.

About 16-hour flight from Basra, Indonesia will be determined to not slip up when they host Philippines at the Jakarta's Gelora Bung Karno Stadium.

Sitting in second spot with one point ahead of Vietnam, Shin Tae-yong has the opportunity to be the first head coach to guide Indonesia into the third round of the World Cup qualifiers.

Indonesia’s rise under the Korean tactician has been well documented and they will be determined to achieve victory on home turf.

They will, however, be mindful of the danger the Philippines pose, with the two sides having played to a 1-1 draw when they met in November.

Shin has urged his players to remain focused against Tom Saintfeit’s side, who would love to throw a spanner in the works for Indonesia./.