Vietnam U22s trained behind closed doors on Saturday night in order to best prepare for their encounter with Indonesia U22s in men’s football at the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines on Sunday night.
The Vietnamese side’s heach coach Park Hang Seo banned the media from covering his men’s last training session.
The young Indonesians are at an advantage to win a ticket to the knockout stage after defeating reigning champions 2-0 on November 26 and Singapore 2-0 two days later at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
They will only have to face minions Brunei U22s and Laos U22s in the remaining games.
So the Indonesia match at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila proves vital for Park’s team, as the junior Golden Dragons will take on heavyweights Singapore U22s on December 3 and archrivals Thailand U22s December 5.
Indra Sjafri’s men have showed that they are to compete for one of Group B’s two tickets to the semifinals, with a strong defense line and a clean sheet.
Thus Park had every reason to be cautious not to expose his formation and tactics to the media.
Indonesia are not afraid of Vietnam, Sumardji, director of the Indonesian team, told Nusantara TV, adding that his team were ready for a victory.
But head coach Sjafri will have to adjust his line-up as defender Firza Andika and forward Muhammad Rafli will likely be out of the game due to injuries. Both players have been in form so far.
Vietnam suffer a setback as they have never played at Rizal Memorial, only having routed Brunei 6-0 and Laos 6-1 at Binan Football Stadium in Laguna Province, about 100 kilometers from the Filipino capital of Manila, so far.
The Vietnam-Indonesia game will be broadcast live on national television channel VTV6 at 7:00 pm (Vietnam time).
In men’s football, participating countries sent under-22 players to compete in the tournament, with two overage footballers allowed on each 20-member team.
Vietnam are leading Group B with six points, followed by Indonesia on six, Thailand on three, Singapore on one, Laos on one, and Brunei on zero points.
The Vietnamese have been striving for a gold medal in men’s football since 1975.
The SEA Games are a biennial event governed by the Southeast Asian Games Federation under the supervision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic Council of Asia.
The first edition of the event was held in 1959.
It has since grown to be one of the region’s largest sporting events, hosting athletes from the 11 countries that make up Southeast Asia.
This year’s SEA Games, the event’s 30th installment, are hosted by the Philippines from November 30 to December 11, with athletes competing in 530 events across 56 sports.
Vietnam’s delegation to the 2019 SEA Games consists of 568 athletes competing in 43 sports.
Team Vietnam sets a target of winning at least 60 gold medals and ranking third in the medal table.
Vietnam won 58 gold medals, 50 silvers, and 60 bronzes, placing third in the 2017 SEA Games in Malaysia.