Vietnam's Under-19 football team is set to play Australia and Japan in Group B at the upcoming ASEAN Football Federation’s Nutifood U19 Cup 2014 that begins on September 5 at Hanoi’s Hang Day Stadium.
Meanwhile, fierce matches are expected in Group A between Myanmar, Indonesia and Thailand. Two of three teams from each group in the round robin will advance to the semi-finals.
Vietnam, the runner-up at last year’s championship after losing 6-7 in a penalty shootout remains hopeful it will secure a slot in the next round, despite stiff competition.
Coach Guillaume Graechen said a 3-4 loss last month to Myanmar at the 2014 Hassanal Bolkiah Trophy in Brunei brought his players more thirst for a victory.
“I am very pleased with their training. Our main target will be the AFC U19 Championship in Myanmar (September 9-23). But we will have our best performance at the AFF U19 Cup,” he said.
On September 5, Vietnam will face Australia, a team it defeated 5-1 at the AFC U19 Championship qualifier last year.
“I always told my players not to be afraid of any team. Last year, no one believed we'd beat Australia but we did it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Coach Suzuki Masakazu of Japan said he'll apply a suitable strategy to each match, depending on the opponents.
“The AFF U19 Cup will be a preparation for the upcoming AFC U19. Winning is good but we do not put much pressure on our players,” he said.
All teams have been in Hanoi since Wednesday for the championship begins Friday and will run until September13.
NUTIFOOD U19 CUP 2014 FIXTURES
Friday, September 5
4:30 p.m. Indonesia – Thailand
7:00 p.m. Vietnam – Australia
Sunday, September 7
4:30 p.m. Australia - Japan
7:00 p.m. Thailand - Myanmar
Tuesday, September 9
4:30 p.m. Myanmar – Indonesia
7:00 p.m. Vietnam – Japan
Thursday, September 11
4:30 p.m. Group A winner – Group B runner-up
7:00 p.m. Group B winner – Group A runner up
Saturday, September 13
4:30 p.m. Two losing teams at semifinals
7:00 p.m. Two winning teams at semifinals