Coach Nguyen Huu Thang of Vietnam (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Both Vietnam and Syria considered their friendly match on May 31 at My Dinh Stadium to be a test for their upcoming tournaments.

Syrian coach Ayman Alhakim brought 21 athletes to Hanoi, including their best forwards, Sanharib Malki Sabah from Turkey, Ahmad Al Douni from Bahrain and Abdul Fattah Al Agha, who comes from Iraq.

Talking to reporters in Hanoi on May 30, Alhakim said the host team, Vietnam, was playing at the same level as his team.

He said experience was an advantage for his team, compared to the young Vietnamese, and perhaps Syria would play better because some of his players were sharpening their skills in other countries, though Vietnam showed great progress recently.

The Vietnam match is one of three friendlies that Syria is playing in to prepare for their World Cup campaign. Therefore, Alhakim said his team would play with their best efforts.

Speaking at the Hanoi press conference, coach Nguyen Huu Thang of Vietnam said Syria were one of the top teams in Asia, and it players had advantages of both physique and good form, compared to Vietnam.

“We can see their power as they enter the last qualification round of the 2018 World Cup. They are a strong team with advanced techniques. So, our game with them will be a good test for us,” noted Thang.

“Coach Ayman Alhakim of Syria respects us a lot, when saying Vietnam is at the same level with his team, but I know who we are and they are better than us in different fields,” said Thang.

The 44-year-old added that he and his assistants reviewed records of Syria’s matches, worked out tactics and hoped his players could block the visitors from scoring.

Further, captain striker Le Cong Vinh said this was his third time playing against Syria and he would try to do his best.

“The game will be useful, so that our team understands our current position. We will find our advantages and disadvantages in a match in which the opponents are very strong,” Vinh said.

“Vietnam first played Syria in the Asian Cup in 2009 when we were with the best-ever team that just won the AFF Cup. However, it was not an easy match before losing to them on home turf and then on away ground.

“This year, Vietnam brought together a number of young players with little experience. We are facing a powerful Middle East squad who rank 110th in the world. It will be more difficult.

“However, I think that if we learn more from this match, it will be better than winning over a worse team but learning nothing,” said Vinh.

While Syria prepares for their World Cup journey in September, Vietnam will focus on their ASEAN Football Federation Cup in November.

The match will be aired live on VTV6 channel at 6pm of May 31.-VNA