Ho Minh Di is hugged by his teammates after scoring a goal in Việt Nam’s 1-1 against the UAE on Monday. (Photo: vff.org.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam have advantages and disadvantages in the race for a berth in the quarter-finals of the Asian Football Confederation U19 Championship, which is ongoing in Bahrain.

The Vietnamese side have become a phenomenon at the continental competition, after one win and one draw in Group B, which gathered powerhouses the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Iraq.

As top-placed Iraq claimed the first ticket to the last-eight stage, the remainder will belong to either Vietnam, the second-ranked team, or the UAE, which are in third place.

Vietnam are in a better position, as they need only one point during the last match on October 20 against Iraq, who may rest their best players for the next round. If the match ends with a draw, Vietnam will advance no matter what happens in the other game.

Meanwhile, the UAE need to defeat the DPRK and wait for a loss from Vietnam.

However, there are difficulties awaiting the Southeast Asian side.

“We have an advantage to enter the quarters, but we will not have captain-midfielder Nguyen Trong Dai and defender Doan Van Hau in the last group round match. They are important players, so we need to work harder to fill the holes they leave,” said coach Hoang Anh Tuan of Vietnam.

Dai received a red card in the 1-1 draw against the UAE on October 17, while Hau, who scored the second goal for Vietnam in their 2-1 win over the DPRK last week, collected two yellow cards.

Tuan’s ‘Fantastic Four’ now has only Ho Tan Tai and Huynh Tan Sinh. It is expected that Nguyen Huu Lam and Mac Duc Viet Anh will replace the sidelined teammates on October 20. Another possibility is that midfielder Bui Tien Dung and striker Duong Van Hao are also strong in defence.

Iraq is one of Asia’s top teams. They have triumphed six times in this tournament.

In the qualification round, they won all three games and score 11 goals.

In the group B, they defeated the UAE 1-0, as well as the last championship’s silver medalist, the DPRK , 4-0.

“They are really strong with good physiques and skilful techniques, and seem more experienced than us,” Tuan said about Iraq.

“But Vietnam are not inferior to them. We have the chance in hand and we can decide our fate, although there are other factors which can affect our game.

“About the fined players, they are key parts of us, but other players can take charge of their duties. We will keep all eyes on the match and play with great determination. I believe that my players can make it.”

Casting his eyes on their next opponents, diminutive winger Ho Minh Di of Vietnam is confident his team will produce the all-important results against Iraq, finally breaking the seemingly elusive wait to join Asia’s elite for the first time in their history.

“We want to compete, and it doesn’t matter who the opponents are. We go into every game wanting to win and it’s the same when we play Iraq. Our coach told us this was our best chance to go far,” said Di, who opened the scoring in Vietnam’s game against the UAE.

“Not many people gave us a chance in the match with the DPRK , but we proved them wrong. We have a very good team here and we proved it again against UAE,” added Di, who was one of the shortest players on the pitch.

“We are here to perform to our best and we fear no one.”-VNA