Tien Linh confident ahead of Vietnam U23s’ opener at continental champs

Wednesday, 2020-01-08 16:56:06
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Striker Tien Linh is one of the great hopes for Vietnam at the upcoming 2020 AFC U23 Championship. (Photo: NDO/Minh Phu)
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NDO – Having scored against the UAE national team in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier last November, Vietnamese promising striker Nguyen Tien Linh has expressed his confidence ahead of his U23 side’s opener at the upcoming 2020 AFC U23 Championship against UAE U23s.

>>> Midfielder Trong Hung: ‘Vietnam remain focused on the 2020 AFC U23 Championship’s opener’

>>> Vietnam favourites at 2020 AFC U23 Championship

The Becamex Binh Duong FC forward has been named among the stars to watch out for by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) during the tournament in Thailand, which will officially kick-start later this evening. Vietnam are pitted in Group D alongside UAE, Jordan and DPR Korea, with their opener against UAE taking place on Friday afternoon (Jan. 10).

According to the AFC, from their runners-up finish in the previous tournament in China two years on, Vietnam go into the AFC U23 Championship this year as one of the favourites, and Tien Linh is expected to make the difference for Vietnam in the quest for a place at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

In their opening match in Thailand 2020, Park Hang-seo’s side will face familiar foes in UAE, who they drew 1-1 in a friendly in Ho Chi Minh City last October. Park’s men also beat the Emirati senior side 1-0 in the Asian second qualifying round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Hanoi last November, thanks to Tien Linh’s a superb strike from distance. On Friday, he will line up against many of the same players from the previous clash.

“The memory of that beautiful goal against the UAE makes me very happy. I want to repeat the achievement one more time; to score for the team and put in an impressive performance for the supporters,” Linh was quoted as saying from the-AFC.com.

Along with his partner Ha Duc Chinh in Vietnam U23s’ attacking line, Tien Linh is his side’s great hope at Thailand 2020. Both helped Vietnam lift the 2018 AFF Cup, reach the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Cup and most notably win the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold, where the duo contributing 14 goals out of the 24 goals scored in total by Vietnam in the Philippines-based tournament.

“Vietnamese football has cemented its status in the past two years, and also demonstrated the development underway in the Southeast Asia region,” said 22-year-old Tien Linh.

“This is a good sign for Vietnamese football as well as the region’s football which is currently maturing. Apart from that, this progress also means Vietnamese football will gain more international attention."

With the AFC U23 Championship taking place in Thailand, Tien Linh and his teammates are carrying the flag for ASEAN nations alongside the hosts, and the forward who represented his country at the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup has ambitions beyond just performing well.

“I think that the development of Vietnamese football will help all Southeast Asian teams garner more motivation to strive forward to reach new levels in the region.

“For me, by the time I’m 30 years old, I would like to have played in many tournaments. My biggest ambition is to play in the FIFA World Cup with Vietnam,” affirmed Tien Linh.

TRUNG HUNG