Vietnam prepare for their first AFF Cup final in a decade. After an impressive run in the 2018 Asian Games, there is a growing expectation that the side can go all the way in this regional tournament. Ahead of this pivotal final, Football Tribe Vietnam’s Tran Tien shares his thoughts:
Strengths: Most of the current Vietnam team are from the Vietnam U-23 team who finished as a runner-up at the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship in China. They have worked together with Coach Park for a long time, and it’s not difficult for them to play as a team at this level. Furthermore, Vietnam’s defenders are also playing well, with only two goals conceded in the tournament until the first leg of the semi-finals. In the Asian Games and AFC U-23 Championships earlier this year, the defence was the backbone for the success of the team. Finally, the spirit and mentality of the players is also very good. Under the guidance of Mr Park, Vietnam players do not lose their concentration when leading, and do not surrender when going behind.
Weaknesses: If we just want to indicate the weaknesses of Vietnam team now, it mainly comes from the players who serve as the wing-backs in the 3-4-3 formation. Doan Van Hau and Nguyen Trong Hoang have played very well so far at the tournament, but both of them have shown their short temper. They are often unable to keep their calm when provoked by opponents. They are only players who can play well on the wings, and if any of them were to be penalised there is no depth in those positions to support them. Most of other players in the squad can not play in that crucial position. Aside from that, the strikers have been very wasteful of chances in this tournament. This is another point that Park Hang-Seo will need to fix if he wants to guide Vietnam to the glory this time.
Player to Watch: Phan Van Duc – He has been one of the best players in Vietnam’s squad so far in this tournament. His contributions have elevated Vietnam’s overall performance.
Alternatively, you can see what Vietnam’s opponents think of them here.