Coach Hoang Anh Tuan is confident about overcoming the challenge posed by U23 Iraq

Ahead of the pivotal quarterfinal match in the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup, Vietnam’s head coach, Hoang Anh Tuan, conveyed a message of resilience and strategic calm during the pre-match press conference. Reflecting on Vietnam’s journey and the upcoming challenge against Iraq, Coach Tuan emphasized the preparedness and mental fortitude of his squad.

Tuan began by addressing Vietnam’s previous game, stating, “The better team, U23 Uzbekistan, won as we anticipated. That loss hasn’t impacted our preparation for tomorrow’s game. Both U23 Iraq and U23 Saudi Arabia are strong teams, and we respect all opponents equally.”

Drawing on the spirit of the tournament, Tuan reminded everyone that any team can emerge victorious on any given day: “I told the players before the tournament that all teams are formidable. We can win, draw, or lose. The defeat to Uzbekistan does not affect our morale for tomorrow’s match. Whether we lost or won, we still had to play in the quarterfinals. Now, we focus all our efforts and spirit on tomorrow’s game.”

Addressing historical encounters with Iraq, Tuan noted, “Vietnamese football has faced Iraq several times, often with more losses than wins. However, past records do not dictate the outcome of this match. History is history; the present is what matters. Reaching the finals in 2018 doesn’t guarantee a similar outcome this year. Just because we have faced defeats before doesn’t mean history will repeat itself. In football, differences in skill and ability don’t always decide the outcome of a match. I hope tomorrow’s game will change history.”

Coach Tuan also commented on the lessons from the group stage defeat: “Remember, in the group stage, U23 Iraq lost to U23 Thailand 0-2. This doesn’t mean U23 Iraq is weak, but it also doesn’t mean U23 Vietnam can’t achieve the same.”

As U23 Vietnam gears up for their clash against U23 Iraq, Tuan’s strategy remains clear: focus on high-level preparation without any special plans, emphasizing the need to concentrate solely on the challenge ahead. This approach underlines his belief in his team’s capability to adapt and overcome, regardless of the opponent’s historical strength or geographical origin.

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