Southeast Asian champions Vietnam will open their campaign in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 when they face Iraq in Group D at the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Tuesday.
Vietnam are pooled with Asian heavyweights Iran, Iraq and debutants Yemen in Group C of the Asian Cup which is underway in the Untied Arab Emirates (UAE).
Speaking at the news conference ahead of their group opener, South Korean coach Park said that Vietnam are indeed pitted against three very difficult teams in the group stages of the tournament.
“I think we are in a very tough group in which there are three very competitive teams of which one is Iraq that we will face on Tuesday,” said said Park, who guided the Golden Dragons to the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 title last month.
“I believe it will be a very challenging match for us. But our team are ready for the tournament and so, we will do our best to get a good result,” said the coach.
Park took Vietnam’s U-23 side to the final fo the AFC U-23 Championship in 2018 as well as helped them finish fourth in the 2018 Asian Games held in Indonesia before winning the country’ second AFF Cup title lat December.
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The #AFFSuzukiCup18 champions 🇻🇳 Vietnam begin their Asian Cup 2019 tonight! Will they beat 🇮🇶 Iraq? 🤔 . #football #asianfootball #afc #asiancup #asiancup2019 #uae #thailand #india #bahrain #australia #syria #jordan #palestine #southkorea #china #kyrgyzstan #philippines #iran #iraq #vietnam #yemen #saudiarabia #qatar #lebanon #northkorea #japan #uzbekistan #oman #turkmenistan
“Obviously, we had a very good 2018 and the confidence in the team is very high. The people of Vietnam are also expecting more from us which means pressure as well as confidence for the team,” the coach said.
“However, we have worked very hard since the AFF Suzuki Cup. Our focus has been on the AFC Asian Cup and the players are highly motivated,” said the former Korea Republic international.
“Iraq will be a challenge, as will Iran and Yemen. They are all good sides but so are we and we are looking to have a successful AFC Asian Cup,” he added.