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Hope for advance to Asian Cup knockout stage rekindled for Vietnam

Thursday, January 10, 2019, 17:17 GMT+7
Hope for advance to Asian Cup knockout stage rekindled for Vietnam
Vietnam's footballers celebrate a goal at the ongoing 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Despite Vietnam’s regrettable defeat in their Group D opener with Iraq earlier this week, fans of the Golden Stars are still hopeful that their team will make it through a narrow door to the next stage of the ongoing 2019 AFC Asian Cup in the UAE.

Run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the 2019 Asian Cup is a tournament between 24 teams held from January 5 to February 1. This year’s event is the 17th edition of the tournament.

The top two teams from each of the six groups, plus the best four third-place finishers, will advance to the round of 16 knockout stage.

Unfortunately, Vietnam’s dreams of advancing were nearly dashed following a stoppage-time goal that earned Iraq a late 3-2 win over Vietnam on Tuesday night. The other two teams in Group D are Iran and Yemen.

However, Wednesday night brought back hope for Vietnamese football supporters when they realized the Golden Stars currently rank as one of the top four third-place finishers at the end of the first tour of the tournament’s group stage.

Vietnam ranks fourth among the four best third-place finishers
Vietnam ranks fourth among the four best third-place finishers

Among the four teams, Vietnam’s zero point and goal difference -1 ranks it just behind Turkmenistan, Palestine, and UAE.

The two goals they scored in their match against the Iraqi also created a great advantage for Vietnam as the point, goal difference (GD), goals for (GF), and fair-play table are the first tiebreakers.

In the remaining two group stage matches, Vietnam must either win both, win one and draw one, or win one and only have a narrow defeat in order to advance to the knockout stage according to the current standings and the tournaments point system.

“In the first round of the group stage, a number of teams had big negative GDs, including Yemen who was defeated 0-5 by Iran, North Korea who lost 0-4 to Saudi Arabia, and Thailand bowing 1-4 to India,” said former 1995-2000 Vietnamese national football player Tran Cong Minh.

“These bad GDs will be a disadvantage as they look to become one of the best four third-place finishers,” Minh explained.

Vietnam will take on Iran on January 12 and Yemen on January 16.

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Bao Anh / Tuoi Tre News

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