Jordan v Vietnam: Park expecting 'aggressive' encounter

Jordan can match its best ever performance at the Asian cup by beating Vietnam, whose coach Park Hang-seo expects a physical match.

Jordan midfielder Ahmed Al-Ersan celebrates with goalkeeper Amer Shafi.   -  Getty Images

Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo said he expects Jordan to take an "aggressive" approach when the two teams meet in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 last 16, but promised to find weaknesses in Vital Borkelmans' in-form side.

Jordan defied its FIFA world ranking of 109 to finish top of Group B after claiming wins over Australia and Syria and picking up a draw against Palestine. Park's men were less emphatic, advancing to the knockout stage as the fourth-best third-placed team after suffering defeats to Iraq and Iran in Group D but clinching a vital 2-0 win over Yemen.

RELATED | Vietnam 2 Yemen 0: Quang Hai shines to give Golden Dragons hope

"We have already played strong teams in this competition, such as Iran and Iraq," said Park.

"Jordan are also well organised and well prepared and that's why they got first place in their group ahead of Australia. The match is not going to be easy. It will be tough but we will have to maximise our strengths to win. There are no perfect teams in the tournament, and we will find their weakness.

"After analysing two Jordan matches, we can conclude that they were playing with a more aggressive style against Syria and we expect they will do the same with us. But if we score first, it will be harder for them."

Park's opposite number Borkelmans said his side would go into the game aware of Vietnam's weaknesses as it aims to emulate Jordan's best performances at the competition by reaching the quarter-finals. Jordan was eliminated at the quarter-final stage in 2004 and 2011 but its displays in this year's group stage has given the nation real hope of appearing in the final for the first time.

RELATED | Japan 2 Uzbekistan 1: Shiotani stunner seals comeback and top spot

"I have seen, with my technical staff, many games of Vietnam," said the former Belgium assistant head coach. "We know they are very strong but we also know their weaknesses.

"As coach, you work on this and I believe in my players. My players are trained at a high level. We've worked together for seven weeks now and they are amazing players. I have talked to my players many times, [saying] guys, you've made this [achievement] with what you did at this moment. You know the Vietnam team, you've played two times but that's history.

"What happened in the first round is finished for me. For me, it's now about going to the game against Vietnam. I never look back, only forward."

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jordan – Amer Shafi

Jordan topped its group without conceding a goal and had goalkeeper Amer Shafi to thank for a number of crucial saves. The 36-year-old faced 19 shots on target across three games and is in fine form heading into the knockout stage.

Vietnam – Quang Hai Nguyen

Ha Noi midfielder Quang Hai Nguyen scored nine goals in 24 appearances for his club in 2018 and he was on target for his country in Vietnam's crucial 2-0 win over Yemen. Jordan will need to be wary of his pace on the wing if it is to maintain its impressive defensive record in this year's Asian Cup.

KEY OPTA FACTS

- This will be the first meeting between Jordan and Vietnam at the Asian Cup, however these sides met in 2019 Asian Cup qualifying – both games ending in a draw.

- Jordan has been eliminated in both of its Asian Cup knockout games, losing on penalties to Japan in 2004 and losing to Uzbekistan in 2011.

- Vietnam has qualified for the Asian Cup knockout stages in each of its two appearances in the competition (2007 and 2019), with Iraq defeating it in the 2007 quarter-finals.

- Jordan's Mousa Suleiman has been involved in all of Jordan's three goals at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, despite only playing in two of its three group matches (one goal, two assists) – his solitary goal came from his only shot on target.