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|Coach Park Hang-seo (R) and his assistants. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)|
After the first five matchdays of round two of the Asian qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup, Vietnam are temporarily leading Group G with 11 points after three wins and two draws, followed by Malaysia (nine points), Thailand (eight), the United Arab Emirates (six but play one game fewer), and Indonesia (zero).
To ensure the overall top spot for a direct ticket to the third qualifying round and a place in the 2023 Asian Cup finals, Park’s side will need seven more points from the three remaining group games. In case of failing to achieve the expected points, Vietnam will still be able to advance if they finish among the four best second-placed teams.
The Vietnamese team’s manager aims to inspect his players' performance, as well as searching for new faces to strengthen the national team’s squad after some of his key defenders suffered injuries.
The team will gather on March 21 for an international friendly against Kyrgyzstan, which is scheduled to take place at Go Dau Stadium in Binh Duong Province on March 26.
After the friendly, the national squad will move to Malaysia to play against the hosts on the sixth matchday of the 2022 World Cup Qualifiers for the Asian Zone. The match being scheduled at Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur on March 31.
Time is short for Park as some of his key players in the defensive line, including SC Heerenveen defender Van Hau and Hanoi FC fullback Duy Manh, are suffering from injuries.
In the wake of growing health concerns and travel restrictions due to the global coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19), the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) will hold a meeting with FIFA this weekend to discuss and make decisions on the schedule of the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th matchdays of the 2022 World Cup Asian Qualifiers.
Park’s vacation was longer than expected as a result of the adjustment of the 2020 V.League schedule due to the impacts of COVID-19.
Ahead of Park’s comeback, his Korean assistants, including assistant coach Lee Young-jin, fitness expert Park Sung-gyun and language assistant Lee Jung-hak have also arrived in Hanoi to get back to work.
However, immediately after the end of his vacation, Park returned to Vietnam on February 23 and joined his assistants in implementing medical self-isolation at home, under the close supervision of the local health authorities, following Vietnam’s regulations on the prevention and control of the COVID-19 epidemic.
First assistant Lee Young-jin and fitness expert Park Sung-gyun on March 5 officially completed their 14 day self-isolation period. Both are certified by the health authorities to be completely healthy and able to return to work normally.
As assigned by head coach Park, assistant Lee will scout the match at Quang Nam Stadium between hosts Quang Nam and Ho Chi Minh City FC in the first matchday of the 2020 V.League 1. Meanwhile, professional fitness trainer Park Sung-gyun will be present at Pleiku Stadium to watch the match between hosts Hoang Anh Gia Lai and Quang Ninh Coal.
Park and his assistant Kim Han-yoon will end their isolation on March 7 and the Korean coach will scout V.League matches from March 8, after being officially certified by the local medical agency./.