Sports & Entertainment
Vietnam to attack against Iraq: head coach Park
  • | Nhan Dan | January 19, 2018 08:58 PM
Vietnam U23’s head coach Park Hang-seo has affirmed that his team would not play defensively but would go on the attack against their strong Iraqi rivals in their quarter-final clash on late January 20.

Vietnamese head coach Park Hang-seo (R) and his Iraqi counterpart Abdul-Ghani Shahad at the conference ahead of their teams’ clash, Changshu, China, January 19

At the press brief this morning, ahead of the teams’ meeting, Park expressed his respect for the Iraqi squad saying that his opponents are clearly very strong and they have talented players who can adapt to any change in tactics.

However, Park insisted that his players are making great strides in preparing for the match and will devote all of their focus to the decisive clash for a ticket to the semis. The veteran strategist did not hide his desire to end the game in 90 minutes, but also did not rule out the possibility of playing for 120 minutes or more.

"The special thing about football is that anything can happen even if we do not think about it. Iraq U23 are strong but are not without their weaknesses. Vietnam U23 also have to make every effort to do something special," Park stressed.

Vietnam booked their place in the final eight as runners-up in Group D with an impressive 1-0 win over Australia and a goalless draw against the Syrians. After three matches, fitness became a factor for Vietnam, as the players began to tire. Coach Park admitted this fact but also said that it is not only Vietnam, but other competitors also suffer the same situation.

Iraqi head coach Abdul-Ghani Shahad stressed the importance of the next clash, saying that his team have to keep their concentration during such a decisive match in order to qualify to the semi-final. “We want to finish the match in 90 minutes, but at the same time we realise the importance of this match and we must remain focused no matter how long it takes,” said Abdul-Ghani Shahad.

Iraq U23 advanced to the quarter-finals as Group C’s leaders after a 4-1 win over Malaysia, a draw with Saudi Arabia and a 1-0 triumph over Jordan. The country has a strong track record in the competition, winning the inaugural tournament before finishing third in Qatar two years ago to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The match between Vietnam U23 and Iraq U23 will take place at 6.30 pm Saturday (Vietnam time) at Changshu Stadium.

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