The Vietnamese Football Federation have announced their initial 37-man squad for the upcoming AFC U23 qualifiers, as coach Park Hang-Seo aims to build on his side’s recent successes by taking the Golden Stars to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Having finished as runners-up at the AFC U23 championships back in 2018, expectations are high for Vietnam as they aim to replicate that success in Thailand next January. The 2020 edition also serves as a qualification tournament for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and the chance to play against the best and brightest upcoming talent in the world.
However, Vietnam first has to overcome a tricky qualifying group. Placed in the pot with Indonesia and hosts Thailand, the Golden Stars must either win the group, or finish as one of the four best-ranked third-placed teams. Even though Thailand has sealed their qualification regardless of qualifying, finishing third would mean an automatic elimination for Vietnam.
Coach Park Hang-Seo has decided to take no risks, selecting a strong squad of players to take on Indonesia and Thailand, who were the two finalists in the recent AFF U22 championships. A number of senior national team stars, like Nguyen Quang Hai, Tran Dinh Trong and Doan Van Hau have been drafted in for this tournament. Additionally, younger faces who made an impression at the recent regional competition, such as Tran Danh Trung, have also gotten the nod.
After having won the 2018 AFF Cup and completed an inspiring run to the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Games, the weight of expectation is only set to get heavier for this budding Vietnam squad.