Việt Nam’s U19 squad received a hero’s welcome on Monday at HCM City’s Tân Sơn Nhất Airport after earning a berth in next year’s U20 World Cup. Plans are already under way to prepare the team for that event in South Korea.
The Việt Nam Football Federation (VFF) congratulated and thanked the players and coach for their success at the Asian championship in Bahrain, which was the Cup’s qualification.
The first ever Vietnamese World Cup contenders also receieved a bonus of VNĐ2.2 billion (US$98,600) from VFF, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Việt Nam Professional Football Joinstock Company and other groups and enterprises.
“We can not forget goals that were the turning points in our football history, especially Trần Thành’s goal that pushed us to the U20 World Cup,” said VFF President Lê Hùng Dũng, referring to the only goal scored for Việt Nam in a quarter-final win against hosts Bahrain at the Asian tournament.
“Three weeks ago nobody thought of a win, but now we are one of the World Cup teams. The U19 players made us proud with their unbelievable success. VFF will strongly support them with extraordinary and intensive training courses abroad,” said Dũng.
The VFF and head coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn, technical director Juergen Gede and fitness coach Martin Forkel will meet on November 3 to finalise training plans for the squad.
“I have completed my programme. I will discuss with the VFF leaders the nutrition regime as well as plans of practice for my players who must be in peak form and best physique,” said Tuấn.
“They will have a careful schedule ahead of the World Cup. They will compete with stronger rivals so that they will not feel ‘dizzy’ against powerhouses in South Korea. We have not much time, it is just six months away,” he said.
“There is a gap between teams from Asia and ASEAN. In World Cup the gap is larger with rivals from Europe and South America. We need to try harder to narrow that gap.”
The U19s will be summoned in January and will have four months to prepare before leaving for South Korea.
Coach Tuấn however is not letting his ten key players rest. They will take part on the U22 squad’s friendly tournaments in China and Vietnamese Bình Dương Province later this month.
Tuấn said it was a chance for them to get more experience for tougher matches ahead.
The World Cup will be between May 20 and June 11. There are 24 teams, who are from six separate continental competitions, will take part in the biennial event.
At present, two from Oceania, five from Europe and four from Asia have been known together with hosts South Korea.
Qualifications of Africa, CONCACAF and South America are ongoing.
In 2015 Cup, Serbia took the triumph title after beating Brazil 2-1 in the final. However they will not be able to defend their title as they failed to reach the final round of the UEFA qualification. They became the fifth consecutive incumbent title holder to fail to qualify for the subsequent tournament. — VNS