Vietnam’s matches in 2022 World Cup qualifiers postponed hinh anh 1All matches of the national men’s football team have been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic (Photo: VietnamPlus)


Hanoi (VNA) – Matches of the Vietnamese national men’s football team in the second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which are set to take place in March and June, have been put off due to fears about the acute respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The world football governing body (FIFA) has made the decision to halt all football matches in the two months in the context of unpredictable developments of the epidemic, including three matches involving the Vietnamese football team.

The tie between Vietnam and Malaysia is to be officially delayed from March 31 to October 13 in an away match, whilst Vietnam will play Indonesia on their home turf on November 12 instead of June 4.

In addition Vietnam will play their last game in the second qualifying round against the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which has been changed from June 9 to November 17.

FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will discuss delayed matches and put forward new fixtures based on the developments of the disease.

Accordingly, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) and the Vietnam Professional Football will devise adjustment plans for domestic football activities.

At present, Vietnam top the group with 11 points, followed by Malaysia with nine, and Thailand with eight. The UAE ranked fourth with six points while Indonesia have yet to score any.

In the previous matches, Vietnam secured wins against Indonesia, Malaysia and the UAE. They had two goalless ties in face-offs with regional archrivals Thailand.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup’s second qualifying round for Asia features 40 teams, divided into eight groups of five teams, playing in the home-away format.

The eight group winners and four best runners-up will qualify for the third and also final round of the World Cup qualifiers.

Head coach of the national men’s football team Park Hang-seo and his accompanying spouse has undergone close medical supervision by the Hanoi health sector.

After arriving at Hanoi-based Noi Bai International Airport on February 23 night, the couple had their body temperatures checked. The Hanoi Centre for Disease Control found that they had not been to coronavirus-affected areas in the Republic of Korea (RoK).

The coach joined a working session with representatives of the VFF on February 25 on activities of the football squad in the time ahead, as well as preparations for the remaining matches of Asia’s second qualifying round for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The Vietnamese squad will play Kyrgyzstan in a World Cup warm-up match on March 26 in Vietnam’s southern province of Binh Duong.

Vietnam was supposed to face Iraq in the friendly match in preparation for the fixture with Malaysia, but the Iraq Football Association cancelled the match because of fears relating to the COVID-19 epidemic.

VFF Vice President Tran Quoc Tuan said the Kyrgyzstan Football Federation confirmed that the national team would play Vietnam on schedule.

In this match, head coach Park Hang-seo will not be able to sit on the touch line to direct his team because the coach has been punished by the AFC.

The AFC suspended him from four friendly matches after he received a red card in the 2019 SEA Games men's football final in the Philippines last December for confronting referees.

The friendly will take place at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City or Go Dau Stadium in neighbouring Binh Duong province.

At present, Kyrgyzstan are world No 96, while Vietnam are in 94th position.

In the qualifying round of the World Cup 2022, Kyrgyzstan are in Group F with Japan, Tajikistan, Myanmar and Mongolia.

After five matches, Kyrgyzstan have seven points to rank second in the group, behind Japan who have 12 points./.