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|
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.