Vietnam have advanced to the finals of the 2016 AFC U-23 Championship after thrashing Macau in their last qualifier in Malaysia on Tuesday.
The Vietnamese earned six points following three games in Group I of the qualifiers, including a 2-1 victory over hosts Malaysia on March 27, a 0-2 defeat against Japan on March 29, and yesterday’s 7-0 rout over Macau.
Playmaker Cong Phuong and Thanh Binh scored a hat-trick each and Ngoc Thang netted the other goal for Vietnam in the crushing of Macau at Shah Alam Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Japan topped Group I with nine points and thus made it into the finals of the 2016 tourney.
Vietnam are among the five best second-place teams to win a ticket to the final round of the championship, with the other four being Thailand, Iran, Yemen, and Uzbekistan.
However, the last two teams are not 100 percent sure to make it to the finals in Qatar next year as Group B squads have yet to start their competition due to security concerns in Pakistan.
The suspended group includes Jordan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and hosts Pakistan. The Asian Football Confederation has yet to announce a new schedule for this group.
According to the rule, 15 out of 43 teams partaking in the qualification round will advance to the finals, to be played between January 12 and 30.
They include ten winners from ten groups and the five best runners-up.
The nine group leaders are Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Syria, Australia, North Korea, South Korea, Japan, and China.
The final round with 16 teams, including hosts Qatar, will also serve as Asia’s qualifying round for the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in August next year.