Vietnamese players compete at the current National Futsal Championship. Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI — National coach Phạm Minh Giang said Việt Nam are happy with the Futsal World Cup playoff draw in which Việt Nam will play Lebanon searching for a second visit to the global tournament.
The Asian Futsal Championship which is a qualifier of the World Cup was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, organisers decided Japan, Iran and Uzbekistan got automatic places in the final based on results in recent tournaments. Four teams will compete for two remaining berths.
Iraq will face Thailand, while Việt Nam will play Lebanon, with the respective winners of the two-legged games to advance to the September 12-October 3 tournament in Lithuania.
The first legs will take place on May 20, with the return matches pencilled in for five days later. The venue would be a neutral stadium in Qatar or the UAE.
Iraq will appear in the FIFA Futsal World Cup for the first time if they are successful in their clashes against 2012 hosts Thailand, while a maiden appearance also awaits Lebanon should they overcome Việt Nam.
“I am glad to know Lebanon will be our opponent in the playoffs. But I also know that the team have made great progress recently. They even beat Thailand at the Asian championship in 2018,” said Giang.
“I think it is a chance is for both sides. If we could manage our opportunities the door will be wide open for us,” he said but added that he is worried that his team have not played international games for more than a year due to the pandemic.
Việt Nam currently rank 44th in the world, four places below Lebanon. They have not yet met each other in any competition.
Sharing the same opinion with his coach, skipper Trần Văn Vũ said: “It is 50-50 for both teams. The winner will be who has more determination and makes fewer mistakes. We consider the World Cup qualifier is the most important competition of the year, and we can’t wait to play.”
Vietnamese players are currently competing at the National Futsal Championship. They will meet after the first period of the event on May 3.
Giang and his team will have two weeks training in HCM City before departing for Qatar/UAE.
He added: “I have found several new elements for my team. They are playing outstandingly well at the national championship. I hope they could contribute to the nation in the playoffs.” — VNS