Bahrain defeated Malaysia 3-2 in the last qualifying round match of Group F to qualify as one of the third-placed teams, while Vietnam secured three wins to top Group D.
The men’s football at the 2018 Asiad features 25 teams made up of U23s and three senior players competing in a round robin across six groups. The top two teams from each group, together with the four best third-placed teams, advanced to the round of 16.
“We are very comfortable and ready to beat Bahrain. Physical strength is not a problem for us any more,” said striker Ha Duc Chinh.
In their recent meetings, Vietnam beat Bahrain three out of four times in various age groups, so it is a driving force for the Vietnamese play well in the upcoming game.
Bahrain’s squad has an with average age of 19.8 and among them, 13 players competed in the AFC U19 Championship in Bahrain in 2016, in which Vietnam beat Bahrain 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
Meanwhile, Vietnam have four players who played in that game against Bahrain, including goalie Bui Tien Dung, defender Doan Van Hau, midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai and striker Chinh.
In the training sessions ahead of today’s game, Vietnam’s coach Park Hang-seo focused on short passing, aiming to counter Bahrain’s height.
“I watched the videos of the match of Bahrain vs Kyrgyzstan and Bahrain vs Malaysia and saw that Bahrain have many quality players. However, any team also has weaknesses so my assistants and I continued researching them carefully to have reasonable tactics,” said Park.
Most of the Bahrain players are over 1.7m tall. Their star man midfielder and captain Mohammed Al-Hardan who is playing for Vejle Boldklub of Denmark. At the ongoing Asian Games, he has scored two goals.
Meanwhile, coach Chamnam Samir of Bahrain said he didn’t know anything about Vietnam and was learning about the team now.