On January 5, coach Pham Minh Giang decided to summon 20 players to prepare for the Vietnam national futsal team to compete at the upcoming 2020 AFC Futsal Championship, slated to take place in Turkmenistan from February 26 to March 8.
On January 6, Vietnam futsal team start their first training camp in 2020 in preparation for the 2020 AFC Futsal Championship.
Falling into favourable Group A with the hosts, Tajikistan and Oman, Vietnam – as the fourth-place finishers in the 2016 tournament – have huge advantages to progress to the knockout stage, and are looking towards a slot among the top five teams of the tournament, thereby qualifying for the 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania as the AFC representatives.
Vietnam and the other top 15 national futsal teams from across the continent will vie for tickets to the semis, since the biennial championship organised by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) this year acts as the AFC qualifiers for the World Cup.
In Vietnam’s summon list published by the Vietnam Football Federation on Sunday (Jan 5), coach Giang put his trust in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Futsal Player of the Year 2019, Tran Van Vu, as well as the other key players, including Pham Duc Hoa, Ton That Phi, Le Quoc Nam, Khong Dinh Hung, Vu Quoc Hung and Ho Van Y.
In addition, some new faces such as Nguyen Van Hieu (Da Nang), the top scorer of the National Futsal Championship 2018, and Nguyen Huynh Thanh Huy (Cao Bang) are also expected to create more competitiveness for the squad towards the AFC tournament.
Although not on the list of 20 players summoned for the first training camp in 2020, two Japan-based players, Nguyen Minh Tri and Tran Thai Huy, will still return in the national squad on January 15, after completing competing for their Y.S.C.C. Yokohama FS in the Japanese second division futsal league, F-League 2.
As planned, the Vietnam futsal team will gather today and start training at Thai Son Nam Gymnasium in District 8, Ho Chi Minh City. On February 9, the team will leave for Spain for further training and are expected to have three friendly matches to scrutinise the squad and playstyle, before travelling to Turkmenistan on February 21 to attend the AFC tournament.
The 2019 AFF Futsal Championship third place are pitted against hosts Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Oman in favourable Group A, as Vietnam are favourites for group winners.
This is also the goal that coach Giang’s side are aiming for, because if Vietnam win the top spot, they will avoid strong opponents – like three-time champions Japan who are favourites for Group B winners – in the quarterfinals, thereby having a better chance to enter the semi-finals, as other rivals in Group B, including Lebanon, Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan, are considered on par with Vietnam.
According to the organisers, 16 teams will compete in a round-robin format in the group stage to select the top two teams in each group to advance to the quarter-finals, in which the four winners will qualify for 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup, while four losers will enter fifth place play-offs to decide the last ticket for AFC members to the World Cup.
Vietnam futsal team will kick-start their important campaign at the 2020 AFC Futsal Championship with their Group A opener against Tajikistan on February 26, before encountering Oman two days later and wrapping up the group stage with their game against hosts Turkmenistan on March 1. The top two teams in this group will face their Group B counterparts in the quarter-finals.
The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) has announced the rescheduling of several regional tournaments slated for the next four months, with the AFF Cup 2020 to go ahead in November as previously planned.
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