Vietnam ready for friendly match against China: Head coach

Vietnam is ready for international friendly matches on the FIFA Days in October, including a match against China in Dalian on October 10, said head coach Philippe Troussier.
The Vietnamese team train ahead of their friendly match with China on October 10. (Photo: VFF)

The Vietnamese team train ahead of their friendly match with China on October 10. (Photo: VFF)

After the match against China, Vietnam will face the hosts Uzbekistan on October 13. They will then play against the Republic of Korea (RoK) team in Suwon City on October 17.

Coach Philippe Troussier has shortlisted a squad of 28 players to prepare for the matches consisting of a combination of young talent and experienced veterans, with nearly half of the squad comprised of U23 players.

"I selected players based on their performance and current physical condition, rather than their reputation," he said.

"Players who do not participate in these FIFA Days still have the opportunity to compete in the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers, Asian Cup 2023, or the next FIFA Days," Troussier said.

Vietnam is currently ranked 93rd in the FIFA rankings, while the RoK is ranked 26th, China is ranked 79th, and Uzbekistan is ranked 75th.

Although Vietnam has recently won and kept clean sheets in friendly matches during the previous FIFA Days at home, they are expected to face challenges in maintaining their achievements when these three teams are ranked higher globally.

The results will serve as an accurate evaluation of the true strength of the Vietnamese team after nearly seven months of training under the guidance of the new coaching staff.

Troussier said he highly appreciated the quality of China, Uzbekistan, and the RoK. He believed that competing against strong teams would allow the coaching staff to assess their players and develop reasonable tactical strategies before entering the 2026 World Cup qualifiers in Asia in November.

Vietnam is focused on building a playing style based on a modern attacking philosophy. According to experts, achieving positive results against strong opponents will not be easy. However, the mistakes and shortcomings revealed during the matches will help coach Troussier and his coaching staff identify areas for improvement and make necessary corrections to enhance the overall performance of the team.

The French coach wants the Vietnamese team to perform well and showcase all their strengths and weaknesses in the matches against formidable opponents.

"Our opponents are strong, but I hope the Vietnamese players can execute our preparations," Troussier said.

"I also emphasise the importance of playing style and the players' ability to create as many scoring opportunities as possible while maintaining smooth connections on the field.

"We need to focus on highlighting the positive aspects. I am also concerned about the results because all three upcoming opponents are stronger than the Vietnamese team. However, I anticipate the occurrence of mistakes. When these issues are revealed, we have the opportunity to address them."

In their last meeting during the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Asia in early 2022, Vietnam emerged victorious against China. However, coach Troussier acknowledges that China are still considered a stronger team.

He added: "When the Vietnamese team face China, Indonesia, and Thailand, I recognise the significance of these matches. We thoroughly studied China and analysed their strengths to prepare for the upcoming game.

"I fully understand the current position of Vietnamese football, and we are making every effort to narrow the gap with the top teams on the continent."

The friendly matches also serve as a warm-up for the Vietnamese team ahead of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which will take place from mid-November 2023 to June 2024.

By being ranked among the world's top 100 teams and Asia's top 20 teams, Vietnam will not be required to participate in a playoff round to advance to the group stage of qualifiers for both the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

In the Asian region, all 36 teams are expected to be divided into nine groups, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the third qualification round for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and securing a spot in the 2027 AFC Asian Cup finals.

Vietnam are placed in Group F alongside the Philippines, Iraq, and the winner of the upcoming playoff match between Indonesia and Brunei. Vietnam will play as visitors against the Philippines on November 16 and then return to their home ground to face Iraq on November 21.

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