|Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo (right) and Indra Sjafri of Indonesia at the press conference ahead the final match of men’s football category of the SEA Games. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Linh
The final at Rizal Memorial Stadium, Manila kicks off at 7pm today (Hanoi time).
In the semi-finals on December 7, Vietnam beat Cambodia 4-0, while Indonesia defeated Myanmar 4-2 after extra time.
The final will be Vietnam's first in 10 years in a competition Vietnamese fans are still waiting for a title.
“The whole team are only one step from the SEA Games’ gold medal. Fans, training board as well as Vietnamese footballers can be proud of what Vietnam did at this year’s event,” said coach Park at a press conference in the Philippines.
“Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also sent a message to encourage and support the team. We will do everything we can to take gold medal. We will fight with all our hearts,” said Park.
The veteran coach said even after his vast international managing experience, this evening's final would be a special experience for him.
“I received love from Vietnamese fans so I have a responsibility to win this match and take a gold medal,” the 60-year-old coach said.
Park said Indonesia are strong, but Vietnam won't be afraid.
“Indonesia have a good line-up. They can turn from defence to attack very well. In the qualifying round, Indonesia scored 17 goals, mainly from the right wing. They are not easily beaten. But Vietnam are always up for the challenge. We know what to do to crush Indonesia,” said Park.
The women’s team's victory over Thailand to take a gold medal on December 8 is also a driving force for the men’s team.
Park said he was very proud and wished both teams would return home with golds.
“The captain of Vietnam’s female team, Huynh Nhu, sent a video to encourage us to play well in the final with Indonesia,” said Park.
In the upcoming match, captain and midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai will almost certainly be absent due to injury. Midfielder Do Hung Dung, who wore the captain's armband in the latest two matches, is set to skipper the side again.
Indonesia and Vietnam have already played each other in the group stage of the competition, with the Vietnamese coming from behind to win 2-1.
Coach of Indonesia Indra Sjafri said his team was excited to have a chance to avenge that Group B defeat.
Sjafri also expressed his hope that the upcoming final isn’t just a story of winning and losing, but will promote friendship between the two countries.
Sjafri said with the fans of both sides long craving a gold medal in the competition, the final should be a cracking encounter.
“The last time Indonesia triumphed in the SEA Games was 1991. We have had to wait around 20 years for the gold. Vietnam also wait for the gold medal for a long time. The two teams are now very thirsty. I think the upcoming final will be very interesting,” said Sjafri.