Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Chung retained the squad who helped Vietnam gain a ticket to the play-offs, finishing second in Group A in the previous round in the Republic of Korea (ROK) earlier this month, while also calling two additional left-backs and welcoming the return of key defender Chuong Thi Kieu, who is currently recovering from an injury.
The two rookies summoned to the squad are Ho Thi Quynh (Hanoi FC) and Dinh Thi Thuy Dung (Vietnam Coal – Mineral team). Coach Chung said that Quynh is an experienced player who is expected to fill the vacant left-back position, while young player Dung is in his plan for the team’s future.
“In the last two qualifying matches in the third round, as Kieu was unable to attend, I had to find a replacement. Players like Tran Thi Phuong Thao or Hoang Thi Loan have just fulfilled part of their task. So, the return of Kieu will help our defensive line to be more secure and reassuring,” said Chung.
The return of key centre back Chuong Thi Kieu will help Vietnam’s defensive live be more solid. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
As planned, the whole team will gather on the afternoon of February 16 to have a two week training camp at the Vietnam Youth Football Training Centre in Hanoi. The team will consolidate their fitness and play four friendlies before going to Australia to play the first leg play-off match on March 6.
Against the strong opponents, who are sitting atop the FIFA rankings in Asia and also feature superior players in terms of fitness and strength, coach Chung said: “The coaching staff will make careful and specific preparation for the strategy for the next play-off matches. Australia have good players with a modern play style, mostly long balls. Therefore, we need to have a reasonable strategy to counter the opponents with a solid defensive and counter-attack tactic.”
Chung’s team will play their first leg away at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, Australia, on March 6, while playing hosts for the second leg, which is set to take place at Cam Pha Stadium, in Cam Pha City, Quang Ninh Province, five days later.
On the same days, the ROK and China will vie for the remaining ticket to the 2020 Summer Olympics, as the two winners of the play-off round will qualify for the Tokyo 2020, along with hosts Japan.