Youth team from South Korea tests their strength against U19 Vietnam

This afternoon (July 10), the U19 Vietnam national team played a friendly match against the U21 Avenir club from South Korea. This high-quality opponent provided an excellent test for coach Hua Hien Vinh and his team as they enter the final preparation phase for the 2024 U19 Southeast Asian Championship.

After a training match against U21 Hanoi Police FC on July 5, coach Hua Hien Vinh continued to experiment with the lineup by refreshing the starting eleven and prioritizing the players who joined the camp late. Despite facing a physically stronger South Korean opponent known for their powerful play, the U19 Vietnam team confidently pressed high from the start, surprising U21 Avenir and forcing them to retreat into a defensive stance.

However, with their superior ball-handling skills and quick transitions, U21 Avenir posed a significant threat on counterattacks. Notably, they hit the post just five minutes into the game.

Overall, the U19 Vietnam players controlled the ball and orchestrated more attacks than their opponents in the first half. Nevertheless, their final passes lacked the precision needed to create clear scoring opportunities. The highlight of the first half for Vietnam was a surprising long-range shot from Long Vu in the 32nd minute, which beat the goalkeeper but struck the crossbar-post junction.

In the second half, coach Hua Hien Vinh made further adjustments, bringing in eight players, including Vietnamese overseas player Ho Huu Hung. The team also shifted their strategy to a deeper defensive setup to practice their defensive capabilities and test their transition from defense to attack.

Meanwhile, U21 Avenir continued to leverage their physicality and strength, putting pressure on the U19 Vietnam goal. It was only through a direct free kick in the 62nd minute that the Korean team managed to break the deadlock and take a 1-0 lead. Despite pushing forward to find an equalizer, the U19 Vietnam team failed to convert their chances and had to accept defeat.

Following the match against U21 Avenir, coach Hua Hien Vinh decided to trim the U19 Vietnam squad down to 26 players. The players who will not continue with the team in this training phase include: goalkeeper Nguyen Quang Huy, defenders Nguyen Canh Tai, Dang Thanh Binh, Le Nguyen Hoang, Hoang Minh Hoi, midfielders Pham Nguyen Quoc Trung, Vi Dinh Thuong, and Nguyen Trong Tuan.

Among these, the most unfortunate cases are Le Nguyen Hoang and Vi Dinh Thuong, who could not recover from injuries in time to participate in the 2024 U19 Southeast Asian Championship. Previously, another absence due to injury was forward Nguyen Dang Duong, who could not join the camp.

Tomorrow (July 11), the U19 Vietnam team will move to Ho Chi Minh City to continue their training. This move aims to acclimate to weather conditions similar to Indonesia and reduce travel fatigue by flying directly to Surabaya with only two flight segments instead of three if departing from Hanoi.

Before departing for Indonesia to compete in the 2024 U19 Southeast Asian Championship, coach Hua Hien Vinh will finalize the U19 Vietnam team roster, reducing it to 23 players. This preparation phase is crucial as the team aims to make a strong impact in the upcoming regional tournament.

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