Vietnam's U19s and U21s clash in semifinals

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Vietnam's Under-19 squad will battle their senior compatriots at Ho Chi Minh City's Thong Nhat Stadium during the 2010 International U21 Football semifinals Friday.

The game between the Vietnamese "brothers" is expected to be an exciting one because they are both leading title contenders at the fourth edition of the Thanh Nien-sponsored event this year.

The Vietnamese U19s finished behind Malaysia in Group B after a 2-1 win over Singapore's U21 s and a 0-1 defeat by Malaysia's U21 s.

A 5-1 win over Myanmar's U21 team and a 3-1 victory over Thailand's U21 squad placed the Vietnamese U21s at the top of Group A.

The Vietnamese U21 squad has proved a strong team across the board. Defenders Trong Phu and Gia Tu have done an excellent job in the back field, while mid-fielders Nhat Nam and Huu Phat have impressed audiences a great deal. Strikers Tuan Anh and Trong Phi have become virtual heroes at home.

The Vietnamese U21 substitutes are nearly as popular as the favorites on the starting squad. They played exceptionally in their victory over Thailand, giving the coaching staff plenty of options.

Meanwhile, the Vietnamese U19s make up a better-organized squad because they have been training together for more than two months.

The U21 players got together just four days before the opening match, following their performance at the 14th National U21 Football tournament finished on Sunday October 17.

In terms of hands-on experience, the Vietnamese U19s can't be expected to perform as well as their older "brothers" because several of the U21s have played in Vietnam's top-tier V-League and second-tier First Division.

Despite the differences in experience, the U19 squad should not be looked upon as inferior. They boast some excellent players like Quoc Phuong, Van Quyet, Minh Tuan, Hai Huy and Hoa Hung.

That is why it won't be a surprise if the younger Vietnamese team can beat the older team to advance to the final match.

The semifinal clash between Thailand and Malaysia's U21 teams is also expected to prove a real fight.

The Malaysian U21 s are considered the underdogs but their spirits are high after their defeat of the Vietnamese U19s that put them at the top of Group B.

The Thai U21 squad aims to advance to the final game, so the match promises to be an exciting one.

The Malaysian squad has some prominent players like striker Thamil Arasu, midfielder Nordin Mohd Azizan and central fullback Tajudin Syazwan.

Thailand has bright players like striker Pattana Sokjoho, midfielders Anuwat Nakkasem and Ponlachai Hongthong.

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