Vietnam’s U22 team seen in a training session to prepare for the qualifying round of 2018 AFC U23 Championship. (Photo: bongda.com.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam’s U22 team has a great chance to enter the final round of the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship, coach Nguyen Huu Thang has said.

At a press conference in Ho Chi Minh City on July 18, he said: “We have the chance to enter the final round of the AFC tournament so we will take the opportunity. Vietnamese fans have high expectations of the Vietnam team this time, so the pressure on us is high.”

Vietnam is in Group I along with the Republic of Korea, Timor Leste and Macau.

Vietnam will play Timor Leste in the first qualification match today at the Thong Nhat Stadium in HCM City.

The team will next face Macau on July 21 and the Republic of Korea on July 23.

The top two teams in the group will qualify for the AFC event’s final round held in China, next year.

“I don’t care whether Timor Leste is playing hard or not. The most important thing is that Vietnam must play with the best spirit and fitness. The training board will analyse the strong and weak points of our rival to come up with suitable tactics.

“I wish Vietnam will get good results in the qualifying round to create a good frame of mind for the 29th Southeast Asian Games to be held in Malaysia next month,” Thang said.

Thang also officially announced his list of 23 players for the qualification on July 18, ruling out four players from the previous list.

Meanwhile, coach Kim Shinhwan of Timor Leste said Vietnam was a strong side and the coming match will be a great challenge for his team.

He said Timor Leste has prepared carefully for the AFC event with an intensive training session in the Republic of Korea. The team played our friendly matches with the Republic of Korea’s student teams, winning one, drawing two and losing one.

The Timor Leste team arrived in Vietnam on July 18 and practiced at the Thong Nhat Stadium.-VNA