Vietnam stick with youth for final Asian Cup qualifier

Gabriel Tan Gabriel Tan

Vietnam have named a youthful squad for Tuesday’s game against Jordan with qualification for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup secured.

The Vietnamese have already booked their spot at United Arab Emirates 2019 with a game to spare, although there is still the possibility of clinching top spot with victory over current Group C leaders Jordan.

Nonetheless, following their inspirational run to the final of the AFC U-23 Championship in January, coach Park Hang-seo has kept faith with his young charges by calling up 14 members from that team to his senior squad.

The likes of Nguyen Cong Phuong, Luong Xuan Truong and Vu Van Thanh are already regular at this level, but others such as Ha Duc Chinh, Phan Van Duc and Tran Dinh Trong will get an opportunity to win their first full cap.

Despite the youthful nature of Park’s 23-man squad, there will be experience provided by midfield schemer Dinh Thanh Trung – who was named Vietnam’s Player of the Year in 2017 – and defender Que Ngoc Hai, who has started the season brightly with AFC Cup contenders Song Lam Nghe An.

Ngoc Hai’s club colleague, Ho Khac Ngoc, will also be looking to make his first international appearance after an impressive start to the year.

With Cong Phuong and Xuan Truong leading the way, Hoang Anh Gia Lai are the most well-represented club with five players called up, ahead of Ha Noi and SLNA, who have four apiece.

There will also be added intrigue as to who Park picks to start between the posts, with uncapped Bui Tien Dung – one of the heroes of that AFC U-23 charge – vying with the more-experienced duo of Nguyen Tuan Manh and Dang Van Lam.

Goalkeepers: Bui Tien Dung (FLC Thanh Hoa), Nguyen Tuan Manh (Sanna Khanh Hoa BVN), Dang Van Lam (Hai Phong)

Defenders: Ho Tan Tai (Becamex Binh Duong), Do Duy Manh, Tran Dinh Trong (both Ha Noi), Vu Van Thanh (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Que Ngoc Hai, Pham Xuan Manh (both Song Lam Nghe An), Bui Tien Dung (Viettel), Lam Anh Quang (SHB Da Nang)

Midfielders: Vu Minh Tuan (FLC Thanh Hoa), Pham Duc Huy, Nguyen Quang Hai (both Ha Noi), Luong Xuan Truong, Nguyen Van Toan, Nguyen Phong Hong Duy (all Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Dinh Thanh Trung (Quang Nam), Ho Khac Ngoc, Phan Van Duc (both Song Lam Nghe An)

Forwards: Nguyen Anh Duc (Becamex Binh Duong), Nguyen Cong Phuong (Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Ha Duc Chinh (SHB Da Nang)