Vietnam football national team at the World Cup Asian qualifiers. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa.
Head coach Park Hang-seo has called up 35 players for the national squad and will select 23 for the World Cup Asian qualifiers.
In the list announced Tuesday are many familiar faces who have been playing for the national team for the past three years like midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai, forward Nguyen Cong Phuong and defender Tran Dinh Trong along with new faces, mainly players who have performed well for their clubs recently.
One surprise is key right-back Nguyen Trong Hoang. The 32-year-old reportedly tore his left thigh muscle and was expected to take six to eight weeks to recover. But national team doctor Choi Ju-young checked the injury and said it is not as severe as feared and would heal in two weeks, which persuaded Park to call him up.
The list has only one player playing abroad, goalkeeper Dang Van Lam, who plays for Japan’s Cerezo Osaka. He will arrive last due to his club schedule.
Over Covid-19 fears, the team will do all their training in Hanoi, instead of moving to the south central beach town Quy Nhon from May 10 and having a friendly match with the local V League Topenland Binh Dinh on May 17 as earlier planned.
Park will then choose the final 23 who will fly to the UAE on May 26.
On May 31 the team will play a friendly against Jordan.
The qualifiers begin a week later, with Vietnam playing Indonesia on June 7, Malaysia on the 11th and the UAE on the 15th.
The games will kick off at 8:45 p.m. (local time), which is 11:45 p.m. Hanoi time.
Vietnam are on top of group G with 11 points from five games. The Golden Dragons will enter the final round of qualifiers for the first time in history if they score at least six points from the remaining three games.