Women's team face uphill battle hinh anh 1The Vietnamese women's football team will compete in the last Olympic qualification round in Japan later this month. (Source: thethao247.vn)

Hanoi (VNA) - The national women's football squad will leave for Japan on February 26 faced with big challenges at the last Olympics qualification.

Vietnam will play five powerhouses – China, Australia, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and the Republic of Korea, apart from the hosts – for one of two tickets to compete at this summer event in Brazil.

It seems that success by the futsal team, who recently grabbed their berth in the World Cup, is a strong motivator for them.

"All of them are stronger than us in all fields. But we will strive for the best and hope to spring a surprise in Osaka," coach Mai Duc Chung said.

"You see, nobody could have imagined that the futsal team would beat Japan at the Asian Championship and qualify for the World Cup. But they did, (so we can too)," Chung said.

Chung also has other reasons to be confident.

He said recently that Japan, the Republic of Korea and China were familiar rivals to Vietnam.

In the Asian Games in Incheon, Vietnam were defeated 0-3 to Japan in the semi-final match before losing 0-3 to the Republic of Korea in the bronze-medal play-off.

In a friendly tournament last month, the team lost 0-8 to China and 0-5 to the Republic of Korea.

"Despite the numerous difficulties my players have kept their spirits up and maintained their focus for these matches," Chung said.

"These defeats taught us valuable lessons, and the young members have learnt a lot."

Chung said his players had stronger physique and exhibited a big change in the use of tactics. The more they played the better their result.

"We are luckier than our seniors because now we have received care and strong support to aim for a high result in international competitions," striker Nguyen Thi Minh Nguyet said.

"And we made a great effort to enter the last Olympic qualification. Now our rivals are at a higher level but you know football is always full of interesting surprises," Nguyet, who scored six goals in the second qualifier, said.

"We have worked hard and will play with great confidence and ambition. They will run into a lot of difficulty if they want to win against us."

The chance for the team to qualify for the Olympics is not clear so the women have not been given any goals in the coming competition.

The tournament will begin on February 29 and end on March 9.

Vietnam will first meet China on the opening day.-VNA