|Centre-back Que Ngoc Hai and two other players at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018
They are midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai, centre-back Que Ngoc Hai, and goalkeeper Dang Van Lam.
The newspaper described Nguyen Quang Hai as Vietnam’s most important player, noting that he won the best player award at the AFF Cup 2018 – of which Vietnam were the champions. The 21-year-old player also exhibited an outstanding performance at the final round of the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship, the newspaper said.
Quang Hai is usually placed in attack but can also retreat to the centre midfield position. He has shown his ability to score in a number of Vietnam’s matches in the past and he is ready to shine in the 2019 Asian Cup, it added.
Meanwhile, Que Ngoc Hai and Dang Van Lam are important factors behind the success of the Vietnamese team. The newspaper spoke highly of the technical and defence skills of Que Ngoc Hai and described Dang Van Lam as a national hero with a wonderful goal-saving ability.
Iraq’s Al Mada newspaper commented that its team would face a number of difficulties in the first game against Vietnam on January 8.
Vietnam were evaluated as a potential threat to Iraq in its hopes to proceed to the knock-out stage, according to the newspaper.
Al Mada warns that it would be a poor move for Iraq to underestimate its opponents – namely Iran, Vietnam, and Yemen – and the whole team should be on high alert, developing cautious strategies for each matches.
The newspaper said it has carefully followed the development path of Vietnam under the reign of coach Park Hang-Seo, after getting its national team’s surprise defeat at the U-23 Asian Championship one year ago. They removed Iraq from the round of eight on their journey to fulfil their championship dreams.
The Vietnamese team is now built on the impressive players from the U-23 Asian Championship 2018. Vietnamese players have a very relaxed spirit and it seems they are full of confidence towards playing a higher-level competition, the newspaper said.
Vietnam are pooled with Iran, Iraq, and Yemen in Group D of the AFC Asian Cup 2019. After playing Iraq on January 8, the team will face Asian heavyweights Iran on January 12 before wrapping up their group stage journey with a match against Yemen on January 16.
In a recent interview with Tasnim News Agency of Iran, head coach Park Hang-seo said the first goal of Vietnam – the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 champions – are to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament.