|Goalkeeper Dang Van Lam will be the key player of Vietnam in AFF Cup, according to John Duerden. Photo by VnExpress/Xuan Binh
“With Thailand without many of their biggest stars, Vietnam has moved from second favorites to front-runner,” John Duerden wrote.
ESPN is a US-based global sports website.
Duerden also commented on other aspects of the Vietnamese men’s national football team competing in AFF Cup 2018: “The senior side has not played a lot of late and warmed up with a Korean training camp and friendlies against local clubs.
Qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup was impressive and there is a nucleus of young players that have come through the ranks together.”
He also saw 25 year-old goalkeeper Dang Van Lam as the key player in the team, set to be the number one choice in the goalkeeper position for years.
“Vietnam has plenty of attacking and creative talent and, if things are tight at the back, there is a real chance of a repeat of Vietnam's 2008 AFF Cup success,” he said.
But the crucial part of the national football team is still head coach Park Hang-seo, who led Vietnam to success at two tournaments this year.
“Park Hang-seo or "Uncle Park" as he is nicknamed in Vietnam - is a popular figure after leading the under-23 team to a series of impressive results in continental tournaments. The tactician has introduced a more pragmatic style to the Golden Stars and they should be harder to beat than before.” Duerden said.
Vietnam, in group A with Malaysia, Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia, will play their first match against Laos on November 6, the opening day of the tournament.