Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo has said that his players and coaching staff have been working hard to achieve a good result against Japan in the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 on Thursday.
The AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 champions face an uphill task against record four-time champions Japan who are one of the favourites to win the 17th edition of the continental championship.
However, Vietnam’s South Korean tactician believes his team has a chance despite being the weaker team on the paper. “Many pundits are expecting Japan to win [on Thursday], but our technical team is working hard to achieve victory and I believe our players will fight till the end without fear,” said Park.
The UNSUNG HEROES of Vietnam’s AFC Asian Cup 2019 journey
And the Vietnam coach believes playing against Iraq and Iran in the group stages will help them cope better against Japan’s attacks. “Japan has a different playing style, but playing Iraq and Iran, who are also very strong teams, has been really helpful for the players going in against Japan,” said Park during the news conference ahead of the game.
Meanwhile, Park also revealed that the team’s primary objective was to reach the Round of 16 of the Asian Cup 2019. “After winning the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018, our first goal for this competition was to reach the Round of 16 and we have already achieved it,” he said.
“I don’t think that any team can drastically improve in a short time. While we can’t predict the result for [Thursday], I believe Vietnam’s players will greatly benefit from the experience,” he said.