International friendly Vietnam vs DPR Korea: Worthwhile test for Asian Cup 2019

Monday, 2018-12-24 17:12:36
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Coaches and players from hosts Vietnam and visitors DPRK at the press brief on December 24, a day before their international friendly at My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
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NDO – The upcoming international friendly match between hosts Vietnam and the national team from DPR Korea is considered as a good test for both sides ten days before the kick off of the Asian Cup 2019.

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After being crowned champions at the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup earlier this month, coach Park Hang-seo's side immediately started preparing for the biggest continental football tournament that will start in UAE on January 5 next year.

The Vietnam national team gathered on December 20 and said goodbye to Korean physical coach Bae Ji-won and three players, including Van Quyet, Anh Duc and Dinh Trong. Manager Park instead decided to give opportunities to seven young players as part of the 27-member squad in preparation for the Asian Cup.

The friendly match against the DPRK at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium tomorrow evening is one of two international friendly matches of the hosts before the continental tournament. After the match, the Vietnamese players will “reunite" with the Philippines team in Qatar on December 31, before starting their 2019 Asian Cup campaign with the opening match against Iraq on January 8.

At the Vietnam - DPRK pre-match press conference in Hanoi this morning, Park and his DPRK colleague Kim Yong-jun all expected to have an effective "test" in the upcoming 90 minutes, towards favourable preparations for the 2019 Asian Cup.

Coach Park Hang-seo speaks at the press brief. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)

"This is the first match for us to prepare for the Asian Cup. We will be missing a few players, but will also have tests. Our goal is a victory and minimising injuries. Part of the coaching board's plan at the moment is to encourage the players to relax, hoping they will have the best physical strength for the next tournament,” Park said.

Several injuries in the defensive line set out a problem with regards to the depth of his squad, especially in defence, before the UAE tournament. The Korean tactician revealed that he is considering recalling young centre-back Tran Dinh Trong despite him undergoing treatment for his minor foot injury.

"After the AFF Cup, Dinh Trong told us he had pain in his ankle. We looked at this injury and thought he should not attend the Asian Cup. That would be better for his future in the next tournaments. However, Dinh Trong's injury is not serious. There is a very small piece of bone breaking in his ankle, making him a little uncomfortable, and not affecting his ability to practice and play. In fact, it happened before the AFF Cup,” Park said.

"Dinh Trong is an excellent player. Because of a shortage in time to prepare for the Asian Cup, I cannot summon a new player. However, recalling Dinh Trong is still just one of many options. We are considering his injury before making a final decision."

Vietnamese players during a training in preparation for the upcoming Asian Cup 2019. (Photo: VOV)

For his part, coach Kim Yong-jun was confident with the DPRK players that he summoned for the friendly match against the hosts and to prepare for the Asian Cup 2019. He said: "The team gathered a bit late, but we had two weeks to prepare for the Asian Cup. I don't think the short gathering period is an issue. The result of the match tomorrow is important but I also want to take this opportunity to test my players. Our priority is the Asian Cup, where we set a minimum goal to reach the quarterfinals."

"We have a few players playing in Europe and some in Japan. I'm not sure how the players will work together but let’s wait and see at the game tomorrow."

The visitors have brought their best players to Hanoi, with several prominent faces, including 20-year-old striker Han Kwang-song, who is the first DPRK player to score in Serie A.

In the match tomorrow, both teams are allowed to field six substitutes and, as such, it is possible that Park will give his young players the opportunity to play.

The friendly match between Vietnam and DPR Korea will take place at My Dinh at 7 pm on December 25.