Coach Hoang Anh Tuan and U23 Vietnam send a “challenge letter” to U23 Iraq

Despite being the underdog in their upcoming quarter-final match against U23 Iraq, Coach Hoang Anh Tuan remains optimistic about U23 Vietnam’s chances in the U23 Asian Cup 2024. Following a challenging 0-3 defeat against U23 Uzbekistan in their last group match, Coach Tuan addressed the media, emphasizing the strength of the Uzbek team and the lessons learned from the match.

“Uzbekistan has demonstrated their strength not just in this game, but across various youth levels compared to Vietnam. Their U17, U19, and U23 teams have consistently outperformed ours. That said, there’s no need to elaborate further on Uzbekistan; the results speak to their capabilities,” stated Coach Tuan.

Looking ahead, U23 Vietnam is set to face U23 Iraq in the quarter-finals. Coach Tuan shared his thoughts on the upcoming match: “Many players in our squad are competing in their first international tournament at this level. The quarter-final will undoubtedly be challenging. Iraq may have lost to Thailand in the group stage, but that doesn’t mean they are a weak team. They remain formidable opponents.”

He also highlighted the return of defender Ngoc Thang from suspension as a significant boost for the team. However, he noted that it would be unfair to place the burden of expectation solely on one player, especially given the collective nature of football. “It’s inaccurate to single out one player for criticism in such a match. Our entire defense was under immense pressure, and Ngoc Thang, returning from a red card suspension, didn’t perform as expected due to the mental strain,” explained Coach Tuan.

With two days to prepare for the quarter-final against U23 Iraq, Coach Tuan is focused on ensuring his team is ready for the knockout phase. “In a knockout game, anything can happen, and the odds are 50-50 for both teams. The match against Uzbekistan served as a rehearsal to refine our strategy for Iraq,” he concluded.

As U23 Vietnam gears up for the critical encounter, the spirit within the camp is resilient. The team aims to showcase a different level of performance, reflecting their growth and learning from the group stage experiences. The quarter-final match promises to be a pivotal moment for U23 Vietnam as they continue their campaign in the U23 Asian Cup 2024.

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