Vietnam have kicked off their tournament in style with a 3-0 victory over Laos at the National Stadium in Vientiane. However, what do other countries think of them? Here is a quick look at the perspectives on Vietnam from some of their rivals at the 2018 AFF Cup.
The View from Thailand
Under the guidance of Park Hang-Seo, Vietnam seem to be in such good spirit following a couple of wonderful performances at the AFC U23 Championship and the Asian Games. Vietnam will face Malaysia, their biggest group rival, at home, giving them a great advantage to qualify. A place in the final is perhaps the minimum expectation for this team.
Strengths: Even though they play a counter-attacking style of football, Vietnam’s greatest strength is surely their attack that consists of many experienced and exciting prospects. Nguyen Cong Phuong, Nguyen Tien Linh and Nguyen Quang Hai are all talents determined to make a name for themselves.
Weaknesses: This is the first time the young Vietnamese players have to face senior opponents with more experience than them. Will they be able to raise their game? Secondly this is the first time that fans are really expecting the trophy from them, so there is a massive amount of pressure that might distract the team in crucial moments.
Obb Deewajin, Football Tribe Thailand
The View from Malaysia
Vietnam have had good performances since last January, when they qualified for the AFC U-23 Championship final and did extremely well at the 2018 Asian Games.They side are fielding a set of young players widely known as the “golden generation,” manty of whom have only recently earned call ups to the senior team. Players like Nguyen Quang Hai, Luong Xuan Truong and Nguyen Cong Phuong can destroy other countries with their creative ability and confidence on the ball.
Strengths: Vietnam have a talented coach this time. He has provided a strategy which fits their players very well: active defense and counter-attack. He also very good at reading the opposing team’s tactics. And most important thing is, he promotes self belief among his players.
Weaknesses: One weakness of this Vietnam team is that they can not survive for the entire 90 minutes. They tend to consistently concede goals in the last 20 minutes of games. in the last edition they played well in the first half but began to lose focus in the second half.
Aiman Nazirmuddin, Football Tribe Malaysia
The View from Indonesia
Vietnam have one of the youngest squads going into the 2018 AFF Cup. It’s good to see how to see this country is developing their football, and are just one step behind Thailand, who so far are the best in ASEAN. Both of them also qualified for the next AFC Asian Cup, and Vietnam recently starred at the U20 World Cup back in 2017. This is enough to describe their quality, especially their younger generation.
Strengths: Since Le Cong Vinh retired, Vietnam haven’t had a predator inside the penalty box until today. However, Nguyen Van Quyet and Nguyen Anh Duc are already named as his successor. They must hope that coach Park Hang-Seo can explore their best and change them into a deadly striking in the group stage.
Weaknesses: Vietnam’s young players have good technique, with players like Nguyen Quang Hai, who have been fantastic in regional junior competition for years. However, they still have lack of expereince in senior team. This will be the problem that may prevent them from maintaining a good and stable performance for 90 minutes.
Steven Danis, Football Tribe Indonesia