“If current Group G leaders Vietnam are to win their group and advance to the third round of the Asian Qualifiers, they will certainly look back at Nguyen Tien Linh’s winning goal against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November, 2019, as a key moment,” the AFC wrote.
It added, “In the absence of veteran Nguyen Anh Duc who was left out of the squad by coach Park Hang-seo, Vietnam will be looking at the 23-year-old forward to build on his hot domestic form that saw him bag six goals in 11 appearances for Becamex Binh Duong.”
The AFC go on to detail some of the other key players in Group G, including 30-year-old Ali Mabkhout of the hosts UAE.
“The UAE national team’s all-time top scorer has already been on the scoresheet six times so far in the current round of Qualifiers, a tally only bettered by Syria’s Omar Al Somah. Mabkhout’s six goals included a 21-minute hat-trick in the UAE’s 5-0 win against Indonesia, as well as a brace against Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur,” the article noted.
The other key players included in the list are Brazil-born striker Beto of Indonesian team, striker Safawi Rasid of Malaysia, and Thai defender Theerathon Bunmathan.
Vietnamese players flew to the UAE on May 27 and began warm-up exercises after testing negative for the COVID-19.
They are scheduled to play Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on June 11, before facing hosts the UAE on June 15 as part of the remaining fixtures in Group G of the Asian region’s World Cup qualifiers.