HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s World Cup qualifying campaign will resume against Australia in just six days but a shortage of available players is causing a headache for coach Park Hang–seo.
COVID-19, injuries, suspensions and visa issues are the four main problems at the moment.
A week after testing positive with COVID-19, Nguyễn Tiến Linh is now fully recovered. However, Linh hasn’t yet completed the quarantine period, so the 24–year–old striker can’t meet the visa deadline to enter Australia.
This is also the case for Hoàng Anh Gia Lai striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn.
Linh’s absence is a big loss for Việt Nam. Despite only scoring twice in the AFF Cup, he is still Việt Nam’s best attacking asset.
In 2021, Linh scored seven goals. He also scored in the final three matches of the World Cup second qualifying round in June, helping Việt Nam enter the third-round for the first time.
In this round of qualifiers, Linh found the net against China and Oman, two strong opponents.
After Linh and Toàn tested positive, South Korean oach Park called up Trần Phi Sơn and Ngân Văn Đại, but the duo have since faced visa issues as they were not on the original invitation list of the host Australia.
Việt Nam’s remaining striker Hà Đức Chinh and midfielder Nguyễn Tuấn Anh are also out due to injuries.
The bad luck continues as former captain Quế Ngọc Hải is suspended, having received two yellow cards in previous matches.
The absence of these seven important players, coupled with a strong Australian side looking to qualify for their sixth World Cup, has created a difficult puzzle for coach Park to try and solve.
Việt Nam will face Australia in Melbourne on January 27 before hosting China at home on February 1 in their remaining world cup final qualifiers campaign.
The national team have yet to win any points and are rooted to the bottom of Group B. — VNS