Vietnam is on the hunt for history as they face Japan in the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 at Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Thursday.
Park Hang-seo’s young Vietnam squad defeated Jordan on penalties and booked a place in the final eight years of the continental championship, where they will face Hajime Moriyasu Japan, who wants to win his fifth Asian Cup title.
Let’s look at the five most important facts before the historic quarterfinal match.
Vietnam Have Done It Before:
For those who know that this game will be a misunderstanding, here’s a very short story to prove how wrong you are. The latest clash between Japan and Vietnam came in August at the Asian Games 2018. Which nation has prevailed on this day? Vietnam!
It was none other than Nguyen Quang Hai, who was responsible for scoring the only goal in the third minute of the Asian Games group game that brought his nation to the top of the table. The Vietnamese U-23 players reached the semi-finals of the competition losing the eventual gold medalist Korea Republic.
Meanwhile, this is the second meeting of the two teams in the Asian Cup, and it was Japan that also emerged victorious in this single encounter at that time. On that day, Japan came back with a goal to beat Vietnam 4-1 in the 2007 group stage, beating Vietnam 4-1.
Not Easy For Golden Dragons:
However, on Thursday in Dubai there will be another preposition for the Vietnamese, as Japan is traditionally very strong in the Asian Cup.
The Samurai Blue have won eight of their last nine Asian Cup games and were also victorious in the United Arab Emirates (AUE) in fourth triumph, hitting Turkmenistan, Oman, Uzbekistan and Saudi Arabia.
The only game they did not win in that period was a 1-1 draw with the UAE in the quarter-finals of the 2015 Asian Cup, which they eventually lost on penalties.
Vietnam’s only quarter-final:
Vietnam’s only foray into the quarter-finals of the continental championship was in 2007, when the tournament was co-hosted with Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Vietnam defeated the UAE, drew Qatar and lost to Japan to qualify for the quarter-finals as the runner-up in their group before heading to Iraq later in the last eight years. Iraqi captain Younis Mahmoud scored both goals at Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok that day.
One area that Vietnam has to be wary of in the game will be Japan’s ability to deal with staggered situations.
They have scored 14 goals in standard situations since the AFC Asian Cup in 2007 – only Iran with 15 goals scored more from the set pieces during this time.
The knockout of Saudi Arabia in the round of 16 was also achieved through a set-piece goal when Takehiro Tomiyasu came from one corner in the 20th minute, which turned out to be the difference between the two sides.
By the way, Tomiyasu was the sixth top scorer for Japan in this edition of the Asian Cup – more than any other team in the competition.
It may come as no surprise that Vietnam has the lowest possessions of all teams remaining in the 2019 Asian Cup.
In the four games they have played so far, they had only 48.6 percent of the ball possession.
However, as Park Hang-seo has adjusted his team to be stiff in the back of the head and injured the opponent in the break, the number of Vietnamese fans is not a concern.