Vietnam will challenge Argentina in a friendly match on Wednesday night, in their last test before both teams take part in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea later this month.
The South American visitors arrived in Ho Chi Minh City on Monday and will hold two training sessions to familiarize themselves with the Thong Nhat Stadium pitch on Tuesday.
Vietnam U-20s also returned to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi on Monday afternoon and immediately held a practice session at Thong Nhat the same night, considering the Argentina friendly a good test ahead of their World Cup debut.
Argentina coach Claudio Ubeda said his team would not underestimate the hosts because “it is not for no reason that Vietnam have secured a ticket to the World Cup.”
However, the biggest challenge for the South American players might be Ho Chi Minh City’s current hot weather, given the cold season has begun in Argentina, Ubeda told reporters shortly after the team’s arrival.
The coach spoke highly of Vietnam U-20s, adding that the upcoming game was a chance for him to know more about Southeast Asian football.
Argentina coach Claudio Ubeda
At the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, which runs from May 20 to June 11, newcomers Vietnam will share Group E with France, Honduras and New Zealand. Argentina are in Group A along with hosts South Korea, Guinea and England.
In preparation for the competition, Argentina have already participated in the South American U-20 Cup and played friendly games with Uruguay and other local club teams.
The match in Vietnam will be their final preparation, Ubeda said, adding that Argentina aspired to “advance as far as possible” at the upcoming tournament in South Korea.
Argentina U-20s consist of many players from the country’s top clubs, including Marcelo Torres (Boca Juniors), Ezequiel Barco (Independiente), Franco Petroli (River Plate), Santiago Ascacibar (Estudiantes) and Lautaro Martinez (Racing Club).
Transfermarkt.com values the entire Argentina U-20 squad at US$25 million, with midfielder Ascacibar alone valued at $8.3 million. The website contains no data for Vietnam U-20s.
The friendly kicks off at 7:00 pm at Thong Nhat Stadium on Wednesday. On May 14, the Argentines will play another friendly with Vietnam U-22s in Hanoi.
Vietnam booked their historic World Cup berth in South Korea by finishing as one of the top four teams at last year’s AFC U-19 Championship in Bahrain, which doubled as the Asian Football Confederation’s qualifier for the World Cup.
The three other Asian teams to secure a place were Iran, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.