Vietnam confident of winning Thanh Nien U.21 football title

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If things go to script, Vietnam are likely to take on Malaysia in the final


  A section of the audience at the match between Vietnam and Thailand at the Thanh Nien Under.21 International Football Tournament on October 17

Group B leaders Malaysia will clash with Group A runners-up Thailand in the first semifinal of the Thanh Nien Under.21 International Football Tournament today.

The Malaysian team, with coach Ong Kim Swee in charge, scored identical 4-3 wins over a middling Laos, and the inexperienced Sydney FC from Australia.

The Thais scored just one point from their two group matches and finished second above Singapore on goal difference (Thailand lost 2-0 to Vietnam while Singapore lost 6-1 to Vietnam).

But the Thais may have been playing within themselves, and Malaysia cannot afford to take them lightly. Besides, after a week in Pleiku, the Thai players have got used to the high altitude of the central highlands area.

They have some brilliant players like striker Chatdanai, captain Chatchai Taptep and central fullback Phittayapat Mangkata.

All in all, the two teams look well-matched and it promises to be an exciting game.

Their semifinal at 3:30 p.m. will be followed by the other last four match between hosts Vietnam and Sydney FC at 6 p.m.

Coach Dinh Van Dung and the Vietnamese U.21s have reason to be confident about retain the title, but it may be disastrous to start think about the final too early.

The U.21 team this year are probably the nation's best in recent years, with their core drawn from Song Lam Nghe An, the winners of the Thanh Nien U.21 National Football Championship.

The team play a similar style to SLNA, and their key players like Phi Son, Hoang Thinh, and Dinh Bao are likely to make it the national team in the near future.

It looks like a dream final against Malaysia, the rivals that the Vietnamese players really want to beat at the moment.

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