Vietnamese players train in India. They will play Japan in the second Group C match on Monday. — Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam will be strengthened for their next match against defending champion Japan at the AFC Women’s Cup after two more players returned to training following negative COVID-19 tests.
The players, who have not been named, flew from Spain to join the squad in Pune City, India.
To date, only one player and one official remain in Spain because of COVID-19 and three players in India are still positive with the coronavirus.
Việt Nam sit third in Group C after losing 3-0 to South Korea in their opening match last Friday.
The Koreans went ahead with two goals in the first seven minutes before confirming the three points with an 81st minute penalty at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
However, head coach Mai Đức Chung was pleased with his side’s display of tenacity, despite the team’s troubles with COVID-19, which saw six players unable to play in the opening game.
“We’ve not had training for nearly 10 days and had only one night practising together at the stadium due to COVID-19, which affected us,” said Chung.
The 71-year-old coach came to India with only six players after the rest of 17 were left in Spain, where they had a three-week training camp, because they were COVID-19 victims. Days later, two among six were also positive and the team were threatened to be kicked out of the tournament because of the lack of minimum players required.
Fortunately, 13 were negative and landed in India one day prior to the first match.
“From the first minute, our players were a little bit confused, but I’m still happy that they played with high spirits. It is Vietnamese spirit which will definitely contribute to the success of the tournament.
“I thought we would have conceded more goals but we didn’t. I encourage my players during the interval, asking them to compete like they trained. In the second half, they played really well. I’m satisfied with our players’ performance.
“The third goal from a penalty was a big decision of the referee. My defender did not intend to handle the ball. But that’s football, we have to accept it and focus on the next game.”
Việt Nam are determined to play their best at the Asian Cup and hope to qualify for the first World Cup ever. — Photo courtesy of VFF
Captain Huỳnh Như added: “We were still proud of our performance. Việt Nam team will always play with strong spirit and never give-up”.
Việt Nam play group leader Japan next on Monday while South Korea face bottom-placed Myanmar.
“Watching Japan beating Myanmar 5-0, I found that Japanese players are in same high quality in terms of technique and tactics. I appreciate the quality of this Japan team,” said Chung.
“However, the bigger challenge, the better effort we make. We have two days rest to prepare for the match and my players are back in action after COVID-19, then I have more choice for the game.” — VNS