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Preview - Matchday Two: Group A

Chonburi: Head coach Ijiri Akira has declared that he is looking for more of the same from his Vietnam team when they face table-topping DPR Korea in a crunch Matchday Two Group A encounter at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 on Wednesday. 

Vietnam will lock horns with their East Asian opponents knowing that a win could well propel them into the semi-finals, while – in the group’s other fixture – host nation Thailand are set to face Australia in a game that neither team can afford to lose if they are to keep alive their hopes of reaching the last four.

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Resolute defending and two second-half goals helped Vietnam claim a crucial 2-0 win over Thailand on Matchday One, a victory which took them to second place in the Group A standings and left them well placed to claim a place in the competition’s knockout phase.

With the eagerly anticipated match against 2007 champions DPR Korea looming large on the horizon, Akira is now demanding a repeat performance from his Vietnamese charges as they seek to further underline their burgeoning reputation.

“The game we had against Thailand was undoubtedly a very difficult one for us,” he said.

“Of course, I have congratulated my players [for the win], but we still have two more games to go in the group stage. We must focus on doing our utmost to perform just as well in those games.

“Our games against DPR Korea will be no different to our opening fixture and we intend to play exactly as we did against Thailand in order to achieve the result that we want.”

Group A: Thailand vs Vietnam

Much of Akira’s optimism comes from the improvement he has seen in his squad since taking over from previous incumbent Mai Duc Chung who guided Vietnam through the competition’s qualification process – progress which he believes is gathering pace on a daily basis.

“My players have not had much experience in this type of tournament and I think you could see that in the first half our match against Thailand,” the Japanese tactician explained.

“However, since taking charge of team I have seen them improve every day, and I am hopeful that through our training sessions and matches here in Thailand they can become even better.”

Meanwhile, opposite number Song Sung-gwon has declared that DPR Korea are not about to take anything for granted when they face Vietnam at the Chonburi Stadium.

The Koreans opened their AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 account with a 5-1 defeat of Australia on Sunday, a three-point haul which left them occupying pole position in Group A.

Despite their resounding early success, Song is adamant that his side will be focused and more than ready for what is sure to be yet another test of their title credentials.

“We regard Vietnam as one of the strongest sides in Asia,” he said.

“We will, therefore, formulate tactics to prepare ourselves in the best possible way for the match. There is no doubt my players will be ready for the game against Vietnam.”

IPE Chonburi Stadium, 16:00 (UTC+7)


Arun Tulwattanangkul has urged his Thailand team to move on from Sunday’s defeat to Vietnam and focus on bouncing back in their next two group stage matches – starting with Wednesday’s clash against Australia at the Chonburi Stadium.

Second-half goals from Nguyen Thi Tuyet Ngan and Ngan Thi Van Su ultimately condemned Thailand to a disappointing 2-0 loss, a result which left the host nation third in the Group A standings and rueing their inability to convert several gilt-edged opportunities.

With Thailand set to play Continental heavyweights – and current group leaders – DPR Korea on Matchday Three, Tulwattanangkul is demanding an instant response from his charges as they look to breathe new life into their campaign.

“Of course, we are far from happy with the result, but we have to remember that there are still two group stage matches to play. We must now move forward quickly and focus on those games,” he explained.

“However, we remain confident of getting a positive result against Australia. We must focus purely on that match and aim to be 100 percent better when it comes along. We simply have to win.”

“We lacked a cutting edge in front of goal against Vietnam and that is something that we need to remedy before we face Australia in our next game.”

Group A: DPR Korea vs Australia

In the wake of their 5-1 defeat to DPR Korea, Australia head coach Leah Blayney, meanwhile, has insisted that it will be a case of more of the same in regard to how the Young Matildas approach the crucial game with Thailand.

“We controlled possession in the first half against DPR Korea but they scored four or five goals from quick counter-attacks,” she said.

“They are strong and dangerous in those areas and we will learn from that moving forward. Australia will always stick to their style and methods and how we want to play. In terms of the match with Thailand, that will be our focus.

“We respect all our opponents in this competition. It’s tournament mode, we’re excited to be here and excited to be given the opportunity to play in this AFC competition.”

Chonburi Stadium, 19:00 (UTC+7)

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