Debating Vietnam's SEA Games odds

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Vietnam must "˜focus on each match' to make the semifinals, but it's not a shoe in

   The Vietnamese U.23s will clash with Laos again at the 27th SEA Games next month. Photo: Bach Duong

The Vietnam men's football team could make at least the semifinals at the South East Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar next month, but officials are debating whether or not the squad understands enough about its rivals.

Some say the draw didn't work in Vietnam's favor, but it also didn't work against them.

 "Neither group is easier than the other," said Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) Chairman Nguyen Trong Hy. "Vietnam is in a group [Group A] with 6 teams, so the players will lose more energy in the group stage but it will be very interesting."

Hy said Vietnam should focus its best efforts on each match, and shouldn't be too confident against any rival.

No team is weaker or stronger in Group A, he said, adding that different teams have different features and Vietnam could be swept aside easily if they are not careful.

Timor Leste in Group B is hard to understand and the Philippines in Group A is hard to understand, too, Hy said.

It is now hard to tell which teams will enter the semifinals, he said.

Vietnamese players must make great efforts in skills training and in controlling their psychological emotions, he went on. 

THE RESULTS OF THE DRAW

â–  Male football
Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, Brunei, the Philippines (Group A)
Indonesia, Myanmar, Timor Leste, Thailand, Cambodia (Group B)

â–  Female football
Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, the Philippines (Group A)
Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Timor Leste (Group B)

â–  Male Futsal (indoor football)
Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia (Group A)
Thailand, Vietnam, Laos (Group B)

â–  Female Futsal (round robin contest)
Myanmar, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia

Good emotions can help players make good use of skills and strategies, Hy concluded.

"Vietnamese U.23s are in a relatively easy group because it does not consist of Thailand and Indonesia and hosts Myanmar," said VFF General Secretary Ngo Le Bang.

"Vietnam will only have to compete with Malaysia and Singapore for a berth in the semifinals [because] Laos and Brunei are still inferior to Vietnam."

But he didn't dismiss the Philippines out of hand.

"Only the Philippines may upset us because we don't quite understand them," he argued.

"Though we are in an easy group, Vietnamese U.23s must focus their efforts on each match."

Hoang Van Phuc, head coach of the Vietnamese U.23 football team, disagreed with much of what Bang said.

"I don't think Group A is easy. It is the opposite. The rivals in this group are very different. Don't think it is easy when Vietnam does not have to face Thailand or hosts Myanmar," he said.

"Vietnam will have to clash with difficult rivals, including Malaysia and Singapore. Laos and the Philippines are not inferior. It would be very hard if the Filipino team consists of several players of foreign origin."

In the group stage, Vietnam will play 5 matches in 14 days and that will require a lot of energy and that is why the Vietnamese U.23s must gain more energy before the contest, Phuc went on.

Good strategies would mean nothing without sufficient energy, he said. Vietnam will focus on each match to enter the semifinals, according to Phuc.

Captain Nguyen Van Quyet said that the Vietnamese U.23s must fight against any rival but it would be easier for the Vietnamese U.23s if they take wins in all the first four matches before facing Malaysia.

Tran Quoc Tuan, general director of the General Department of Physical Training and Sports, did not describe one group as easier than the other. He said: "The Vietnamese U.23s need to have the right strategies for each match. Most importantly, they must maintain good energy and use their energy reasonably."

MALE FOOTBALL FIXTURES

Date Time Group Match Stadium
      2-Dec 16:00
18:45
A Malaysia-Philippines
Vietnam-Brunei
Nay Pyi Taw
4-Dec 16:00
18:45
A Singapore-Laos
Malaysia-Brunei
Nay Pyi Taw
6-Dec 16:00
18:45
A Philippines-Laos
Vietnam-Singapore
Nay Pyi Taw
7-Dec 16:00
18:45
B Thailand-Timor Leste
Myanmar-Cambodia
Yangon
8-Dec 16:00
18:45
A Brunei-Singapore
Laos-Malaysia
Nay Pyi Taw
9-Dec 16:00
18:45
B Cambodia-Indonesia
Myanmar-Timor Leste
Yangon
10-Dec 16:00
18:45
A Philippines-Vietnam
Malaysia-Singapore
Nay Pyi Taw
12-Dec 16:00
18:45
B Indonesia-Thailand
Cambodia-Timor Leste
Yangon
13-Dec 16:00
18:45
A Laos-Vietnam
Brunei-Philippines
Nay Pyi Taw
14-Dec 16:00
18:45
B Timor Leste-Indonesia
Thailand-Myanmar
Yangon
15-Dec 16:00
18:45
A Vietnam-Malaysia
Singapore-Philippines
Nay Pyi Taw
16-Dec 16:00
18:45
B Thailand-Cambodia
Indonesia-Myanmar
Yangon
17-Dec 16:00 A Laos-Brunei Nay Pyi Taw
19-Dec 16:00
19:00
Semi 1
Semi 2
A's top place-B's 2nd place
B's top place-A's 2nd place
Nay Pyi Taw
21-Dec 16:00
19:00
3rd pm
Final
Semis losers
Semis winners
Nay Pyi Taw

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