Philippe Troussier said Vietnam were confident to overcome challenges at the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup in Qatar and his side targeted a Paris Olympics’ place from this tournament.
Vietnam are in Group D with Uzbekistan, Kuwait and Malaysia, according to the result of a draw conducted by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) this week for 16 teams.
Group A consists of Qatar, Australia, Jordan and Indonesia, while Group B gathers Japan, the Republic of Korea, the United Arab Emirates and China, and Group C brings together Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Thailand and Tajikistan.
The tournament, a Paris Games qualification, is slated for April 15-May 3 in four host cities in the host country of the 22nd FIFA World Cup last year.
Vietnam were the first team to secure a spot in the finals. The team topped Group C with seven points in the qualifiers. Under Troussier, the team had a 6-0 victory over Guam and beat Yemen 1-0 before drawing 2-2 with Singapore in a match of mere formality as they had already secured the top spot.
This will be the fifth time that Vietnam will compete in the Cup. Their best result was second place in the 2018 edition.
“To me, each group and each rival brings different challenges,” said Troussier, who respected all rivals.
“We all know that the AFC U23 Cup Finals is special for all teams in general and me in particular, because it is also a qualifier of the 2024 Olympics held in France. Regarding the three opponents in the same group with Vietnam, Uzbekistan are theoretically considered the strongest team because they have regularly won good results at youth tournaments at the continental level in recent years.
“I think Kuwait and Malaysia will be direct rivals of Vietnam for the second place at the knockout stage. But as I said, no match will be easy because they have the same dream as us, which is to go as far as possible and have a place at Paris 2024,” said Troussier.
The French tactician currently manages both the national senior team and the U23 squad. He has his advantages in watching his play
ers’ practice and progress, and building plans for each side.
In preparation for the upcoming tournament, Troussier picked a number of young players to train and compete with the national team at the World Cup qualification matches.
Among them, defenders Phan Tuan Tai and Vo Minh Trong, midfielder Nguyen Thai Son and striker Nguyen Dinh Bac received complimentary words from their coaches.
‘I have worked with these U23 players for almost nine months. We have experienced many matches in different tournaments of different levels, including the tough and high-pressure World Cup qualifiers.
“With such good preparation and foundation, I believe these players and the entire team will be confident to play at the upcoming Cup.
“We will continue to improve to be maximally ready against the continent’s top opponents. Of course, in the remaining time, I will coordinate closely with the Vietnam Football Federation to build up the best plan for the tournament.’
In Qatar, teams will compete in round robin format in th
e group stage. The two strongest ones will advance to the quarter-finals.
The top three finishers will qualify for the Paris Games, while the fourth-placed team will participate in a playoff against an opponent from the Confederation of African Football (CAF) for a chance to compete at the Olympics./.
Source: Vietnam News Agency