• Ian Pulczynski

Socceroos Opposition Watch: Vietnam

The Socceroos next opponents in FIFA World Cup qualifying, Vietnam, have never qualified for the tournament in its history.


But a golden generation of players gives hope and belief to the football-loving country.

Vietnam's national football team have been on the rise in Asian football. Source: VN Express

Ranked 92nd in the FIFA rankings, the Vietnamese national team has never been a formidable side.


However, an influx of young players is aiming to create history.


The average age within the 23-man squad is just 25, with nine players under 24.


Vietnam's strong emphasis on developing a foundation through youth football has been rewarded.


Not only has it helped them climb up the FIFA rankings, but the south-east Asian nation now poses a threat to their opponents and should not be treated as pushovers.


This shift was evident in the second round of qualification.


Vietnam finished second in a challenging group that featured the United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.


The man who has overseen every step of Vietnam's recent development is South Korean manager Park Hang-seo.


Since his appointment in 2017, Park has played an instrumental role with the national team.


His most significant achievement was guiding the team through the qualifying stages for the 2019 Asian Cup, only the second time they've featured in the competition in their history.

Park Hang-seo has been the manager of the Vietnamese national team since 2017. Source: Goal.com

Park Hang-seo is also the manager of Vietnam's U22 and U23 national teams, following every step of Vietnam's exciting talent coming through their youth system.


Speaking before the game against Australia, Park Hang-seo was motivated for the upcoming clash.


"This game means a lot because it will be the first time that Vietnam face Australia at the national team level. I can't guarantee anything, but the team will give their best," Park said in his pre-game press conference.


"As the head coach, I will find a way to boost the mentality of the players to help them battle and get the best result possible."


Vietnam has a few exciting players, including attackers Quang Hai Nyugan (24), Tien Linh Nguyen (23) and Van Duc Phan (25).

Nguyễn Quang Hải is one of Vietnam's most exciting players. Source: Goal.com

Veteran goalkeeper Tan Truong Bui (35) is the oldest member in the squad and will use his experience to motivate others across the pitch.


On matchday one of the third qualifying round, Vietnam went down 3-1 to Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.


Quang Hai Nyugan scored in the third minute to give Vietnam the lead.


But a red card in the second half changed the match's momentum, resulting in a victory for the Gulf nation.


It will be the first time Australia has ever played against Vietnam in senior international football.


The host country will look to upset the Socceroos at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.


Vietnam vs Australia will kick-off on Tuesday 7th September at 10pm (AEDT), live on Channel 10.