Vietnam to face Iraq in crucial qualifier hinh anh 1Vietnamese players celebrate during their 4-1 win over Chinese Taipei (Source:
Hanoi (VNA) - Although the chances of Vietnam reaching the final round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup/2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers are slim, Vietnam will try to beat Iraq in the final match of the event’s second qualifying round to be held in Iran on March 29, according to Vietnamese coach Nguyen Huu Thang.

Vietnam’s 4-1 victory over Chinese Taipei on March 24 is a driving force for the team in their match with Iraq.

Meanwhile, Iraq has had a change in coaching. The team’s coach, Yahya Alwan, resigned following the 2-2 draw with Thailand on March 24. Abdul Ghani Shahad took charge of the Iraqi team.

Vietnam now have seven points after five games, standing third in Group F. Thailand took the lead with 14 points. Iraq came second with nine points, whereas Chinese Taipei remained at the bottom with zero points.

The group winners and four best runners-up (12 teams total) will advance to the 2019 AFC Asian Cup finals and the final qualifying round for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The next best 24 teams from the preliminary stage of the joint qualifiers will compete in a separate competition for the remaining slots (12 slots or 11 slots plus one slot for the host) in the 24-team 2019 Asian Cup.

If Iraq beat Vietnam, the team will likely be one of four best runners-up to advance to the event’s next round.

If Vietnam beat Iraq, the team will rank second in the group, but the chances of qualifying for the next round depend on many factors. Other group runners-up such as Oman, China and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) must lose for the Vietnamese team to advance.

Before the match takes place, players of the two teams will wear black bands on their arms and hold a moment of silence in memory of the recent terrorist bomb attack in Iraq on March 25.

To prepare for the match, Vietnam were presented at Iran on March 26. They had several light training sessions at their hotel and practised at the 8,000-seat Ghavamin Stadium on March 28. The match will be run by Australian coach Peter Green.-VNA