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Nov 11, 2021 at 12pm UK
VietnamVietnam
vs.
JapanJapan
 

Preview: Vietnam vs. Japan - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Vietnam vs. Japan - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Thursday's World Cup Qualifying - Asia clash between Vietnam and Japan, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Vietnam can pick up their first points in round three of World Cup 2022 qualifying in the Asian region when they host Japan at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi on Thursday.

The Samurai Blue are tied for third in Group B with Oman on six points after benefitting from a late own goal to defeat Australia 2-1, while the Golden Star Warriors have dropped all four of their matches in this stage of qualifying after losing only once in round two.


Match preview

This is the furthest that the Vietnamese have been in any previous World Cup qualification campaign, but Park Hang-seo and his side are starting to realize that their competition in round three will be a lot more formidable than in the second round.

The former South Korean international, who was an assistant to Gus Hiddink in the 2002 World Cup when Korea reached the semi-finals, has been with the Golden Star Warriors since 2017.

While it was initially an unpopular decision when he became the manager, this team went through round two of qualifying, finishing second in their group in what was a very impressive run of matches.

The COVID-19 pandemic and some unexpected injuries have caused several key players to miss these qualifiers, but they looked great without them against Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates, who took first place in that group by beating Vietnam in their final match of round two.

In this qualifying round, they have started each game strongly but failed to keep opposing sides quiet for 90 minutes, conceding three second-half goals in their opening game versus Saudi Arabia, and losing twice from winning positions heading into the second half.

They have had a rough time when it comes to creating many scoring opportunities without their big-name players, as they had only three targeted efforts combined in their opening two fixtures and finding a way to break down Japan has been a challenge for them, scoring only once in three previous meetings against them.

As we reach the halfway point in this round of qualifying, the Japanese are in an unfamiliar position of having to play catch-up to earn a seventh successive trip to the finals.

With virtually the same teams in their round three group as they had at this stage of the 2018 qualification campaign, it seems that other nations have figured out how to compete with the Samurai Warriors this time around.

Their road to round three of qualifying was as smooth as Hajime Moriyasu could have asked for, with the Japanese topping their group with a perfect 8-0 record, scoring 46 times and conceding only twice.

They started this round, however on the wrong foot, losing 1-0 to Oman, thanks to an 88th strike from Issam Al Sabhi and conceding to Saudi Arabia last month with a Firas al-Buraikan goal with fewer than 20 minutes remaining, falling by the same score.

In their previous qualifying fixture at home to Australia in mid-October, we saw Japan veer away from their typical 4-2-3-1 formation, going with a 4-3-3 instead, and this seemed to open up a lot of space for their attacking players as they had six shots on target.

The three-time Asian Cup winners will view this match as a must-win for them, given that they are currently behind Oman on goal difference, and they need to finish in at least a top-three position to keep their World Cup hopes alive.

Vietnam World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Japan World Cup Qualifying - Asia form:
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Japan form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • W

Team News

Midfielder Do Hung Dung suffered a severe injury earlier this season in the Vietnamese league, and he will not be available, while Nguyen Tuan Anh has struggled to stay fit since getting hurt by a crunching tackle in their second-round match with Indonesia and goalkeeper Dang Van Lam will not play after suffering a COVID-19 related incident at club level in Japan.

Nguyen Tien Linh leads the team in scoring with two goals in this qualifying phase after he had five to lead them in the second round.

Their captain, Que Ngoc Hai, can move into a tie for sixth in all-time appearances for his country as he is just one back of Phan Van Tai Em with 54 caps, while Nguyen Cong Phuong and Nguyen Tien Linh are tied with nine international goals each, just one behind former player Dang Phuong Nam.

Liverpool midfielder Takumi Minamino, who led the way with nine goals in the previous qualification stage, has yet to score in this round, with the only two goals scored by Japanese players coming from Ao Tanaka and Yuya Osako.

The last time these sides faced each other was in 2019, when a penalty kick from Ritsu Doan gave Japan a 1-0 victory in the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup.

Eiji Kawashima, who plays his club football in Ligue 1 for Strasbourg, needs just seven more caps to reach 100 for his international career, while captain Maya Yoshida is three appearances away from equalling the mark of Makoto Hasebe, who is currently in fifth with 114 caps.

Vietnam possible starting lineup:
Tran; T. Nguyen, Que, D. Do, Ho, T. Bui; H. Nguyen, Pham, Q. Nguyen; C. Nguyen, V. Nguyen

Japan possible starting lineup:
Kawashima; Sakai, Yoshida, Tomiyasu, Nagatomo; Haraguchi, Endo, Morita; Furuhashi, Osako, Asano


We say: Vietnam 0-2 Japan

Japan will be desperate to get back into the top three, and even though Vietnam have not been as bad as their record may indicate in this round of qualifying, they are missing a difference-maker in the middle of the field.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data



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Premier League Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea118212742326
2Manchester CityMan City117222261623
3West Ham UnitedWest Ham1172223131023
4Liverpool1164131112022
5Arsenal116231313020
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd115241917217
7Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton114521212017
8Wolverhampton WanderersWolves115151112-116
9Tottenham HotspurSpurs11515916-716
10Crystal Palace113621514115
11Everton114341616015
12Leicester CityLeicester114341618-215
13Southampton113531012-214
14Brentford113351314-112
15Leeds UnitedLeeds112541118-711
16Aston Villa113171420-610
17Watford113171219-710
18Burnley111551117-68
19Newcastle UnitedNewcastle110561224-125
20Norwich CityNorwich11128526-215
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