The manager of the Vietnamese national women’s football team anticipated that his squad have a 90-percent opportunity to compete in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, to be organized in Australia and New Zealand.
Head coach Mai Duc Chung made the statement on December 30 after FIFA, the world football governing body, announced six slots for Asia, including hosts Australia who will automatically qualify, at the women’s showpiece in 2023.
The development is coming after the expansion of the global tournament to a first-ever 32-team competition, allowing eight additional participating teams.
Besides the six spots allotted to Asia, Europe was given 11, Africa claimed four, North America, Central America and the Caribbean earned four, while South America bagged three and one spot for Oceania with hosts New Zealand being the only representative.
In addition to the 29 teams that qualify, a ten-team play-off tournament will decide the final three spots at the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023. The play-off slot allocation for Asia is two.
According to football experts, Japan, South Korea and China – three football powerhouses in Asia – will confidently take the first three slots for the continent.
The two remaining vacancies will be filled by Vietnam, Thailand, Taiwan, Uzbekistan, or Myanmar.
“According to my assessment, the Vietnamese national women’s football team will have a 90-percent chance to participate in the tournament,” said head coach Chung, adding that psychology will decide the remaining ten percent.
The head coach emphasized the importance of psychological preparation as Vietnam, partially due to insufficient emotional control, had missed their once-in-a-lifetime chance to take part in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 after being beaten 1-2 by Thailand in a play-off in May 2014 to compete for the last and fifth ticket of Asia.
According to him, Thailand and Taiwan will be the two biggest rivals for Vietnam in their competition for the five official slots at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.
Vietnam have always outplayed well-matched competitors Thailand in Southeast Asian tournaments over the past two years, Chung said, while having few chances to play Taiwan.
Vietnam are currently ranked 34th in the latest FIFA Women’s World Rankings and fifth in Asia.
The team are scheduled to enter a one-month call-up on Wednesday.
In 2021, the squad’s goals include securing their ASEAN crown at the AFF Women’s Championship slated to kick off on December 5 and winning the gold medal at the Southeast Asian Games 2021, to be organized in Hanoi from November 21 to December 2.
In preparation for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023, Chung also has plans to add more young players to his team.