Vietnamese futsal inspired by U23’s amazing run ahead of regional tournament

Thursday, 2018-02-01 11:33:06
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The Vietnamese futsal team is aiming for a quarter-final berth at the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship in Chinese Taipei from February 1-11.
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NDO – The exceptional performance of the Vietnam U23 squad at the recent Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship is expected to inspire the national futsal team as they head towards the 2018 AFC Futsal Championship in Chinese Taipei from February 1-11.

This is the fifth time that a Vietnamese futsal team will participate in the continental topflight tournament. The highest achievement for the team was 4th place in 2016, accompanied by a ticket to the FIFA Futsal World Cup in Colombia the same year.

The 2018 AFC Futsal Championship features 16 teams, divided into four groups. They will compete in a round robin format to select the top two teams in each group that will qualify for the quarter-finals.

Vietnam is in Group A, which is considered a challenging group, featuring highly qualified rivals including the hosts Chinese Taipei, Malaysia and Bahrain.

Hosts Vietnam lost 1-5 to Malaysia in the semi-finals of the Southeast Asian tournament last year. Previously, the team also failed to advance after being beaten by Chinese Taipei at the 2017 Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games in Turkmenistan.

The team is well-prepared for the tournament after almost a month of thorough training.

In preparation for the tournament, Coach Miguel Rodrigo called up 20 players as of January 1. During the training, the team had a friendly match, defeating local team Tan Hiep Hung 5-2. On January 23, the team traveled to Japan for further training and had two other matches with local clubs.

"We had three weeks to prepare for the tournament and one-week training in Japan, where the team reviewed its tactics. Futsal Vietnam’s goal in this tournament is to progress to the second round. However, the team will do it slowly, step by step," said Coach Miguel Rodrigo, who has led Japan to the Asian Championship title twice before.

"The whole country is talking about Vietnam’s U23. It's not pressure but a fantastic challenge for us. In futsal, anything can happen," the 47 year old Spaniard said in response to the press ahead of his team’s opening match with Malaysia this afternoon.

Vietnam will take on Malaysia at 4:30 pm (local time) today and next face Bahrain and hosts Chinese Taipei on February 3 and 5, respectively.

Vietnamese coach Miguel Rodrigo (far right) has affirmed that the U23 team’s success at the AFC U23 Championship China 2018 does not create added pressure on his team but rather a fantastic challenge.