The Malaysian team are hugely determined to progress to the next round at Vietnam’s expense, as they possess a number of naturalised players to help improve their performance.
Malaysia coached by Tan Cheng-hoe lost 4-0 to their hosts United Arab Emirates in their first match to the disappointment of many fans, but their hope rose after the UAE defeated archrivals Thailand 3-1.
Malaysia now have nine points and have two matches left against Vietnam and Thailand which they can bring them more points. If they win both remaining matches then they will have a total 15 points, meaning that it is possible mathematically for them to qualify.
Vietnam are currently leading Group G with 14 points, two points higher than the second-placed UAE. The national team have qualification in their own hands, needing only four points from the remaining two games to finish top of Group G.
According to experts, although the Malaysian team have many naturalised players, they have so far failed to show cohesion, and their 4-0 loss to hosts UAE showcased many of their weaknesses.
Meanwhile, the Vietnamese players put on a stylish attacking tactic in their clash against their Indonesia rivals. Though key players such as Quang Hai, Tuan Anh and Van Toan are sidelined for their suspension or injuries, this won’t impact the team a lot as head coach Park Hang-seo has other options for substitutions.
In the last five matches against Malaysia, Vietnam have four wins and one draw, an encouraging statistic for the team.
At a press conference ahead of the Vietnam vs Malaysia on June 11, coach Park said that he doesn’t want to put any extra pressure on his men and expressed his belief the players will perform well during the upcoming match.
The press conference also saw midfielder Xuan Truong say that Malaysian footballers had good speed with pacey wingers, while Vietnamese players had good technical abilities useful in all circumstance.
The match against Malaysia will be another tough test for Vietnam, although the national team footballers will play cautiously and wait for their opportunities, he noted.
The upcoming fixture in the second qualification round in the Asian region for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will take place on June 11 at 11:45 p.m (Hanoi time).