After achieving unprecedented success with a youthful side at the Asian Games, AFF Championships and AFC Asian Cup, this tournament has been something of a reality check for Vietnam. The nation’s second-string squad was able to navigate a difficult group stage before eventually finishing in third place. Football Tribe Vietnam’s Tran Tien analyses what this result could mean in the context of the nation’s rapid footballing growth.
Vietnam Fail to Meet Expectation
Before the tournament began, the team and Federation expected Vietnam to go through to the final match. Unfortunately, the team lost to Indonesia in the semi-final and couldn't reach this objective. This young team also failed to score a single goal against the big teams, like Indonesia and Thailand.
The team in Cambodia was not Vietnam's best in this age group. Almost all of the players who featured for the senior national team were not been released by their club. Famous players who were eligible for this tournament, like Doan Van Hau, Nguyen Quang Hai or Tran Tinh Trong were not called up to this tournament.
Vietnam Still Lacks Good Strikers
During the five matches of the tournament, the team scored an impressive 7 goals. However, 6 of those goals came from the first two matches against weaker opponents like Timor Leste the and Philippines. Against Indonesia and Thailand, Vietnam failed to score a single goal. If the team had better and more reliable strikers, they might have been able to convert their chances in those games and achieve far better results.
Not Many Will Earn Their Place at the Continental Level
As so many important players at this age restriction were not released for the tournament, very few of this current squad will appear in AFC U23 Championship qualifiers. AFC U23 Championship qualifiers will be one of the most important tournaments for Vietnam football in 2019, and as such the domestic league will take a break for this, allowing the best players to join up with the squad. I predict that there less than five players from the tournament in Cambodia will appear in Hanoi next month.
Vietnam Still Needs Foreign Coaches
VFF chose Nguyen Quoc Tuan as the head coach of Vietnam's U22 team for this tournament, but he has not shown his ability to take the team further. He was unable to boost the players' morale during difficult moments in the way coach Park Hang-Seo did. The team's style of play was also not clearly defined. That may be the reason why the VFF decided to choose Lee Young-Jin as the head of Vietnam's U22 team for the SEA Games.