Park Hang-seo's Vietnam side will clash with Iran, the highest-ranked team in Asia on Saturday in the Asian Cup in what is sure to be a thrilling Group D encounter.
Iran – fresh off a World Cup campaign that only saw them narrowly miss out on a spot in the knockout rounds in a group that consisted of Portugal, Morocco and Spain – are the team to beat this year at the Asian Cup, and currently sit top of the group following their 5-0 annihilation of Yemen in their opening fixture of the tournament.
Vietnam, meanwhile, will be looking to bounce back following a narrow 3-2 win against Iraq that has left them second from bottom, and will seek for a response when they face the group leaders.
|Game||Vietnam vs Iran|
|Date||Saturday, January 12|
|Time||11am GMT / 6am ET|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game will not be televised or livestreamed.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be televised or livestreamed.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
Squads & Team News
|Goalkeepers||Tien Dung, Tuan Manh, Van Lam|
|Defenders||Duy Manh, Ngoc Hai, Tien Dung, Van Hau, Hong Duy, Tan Tai, Thanh Chung|
|Midfielders||Xuan Truong, Huy Hung, Trong Hoang, Minh Vuong, Durc Huy, Hung Dung, Quang Hai|
|Forwards||Van Toan, Cong Phuong, Van Dai, Duc Chinh, Van Duc, Tien Linh|
Coach Park Hang-seo has no fresh injury concerns to worry about ahead of the clash against Iran, though Nguyen Cong Phuong should slot into the first-team easily after scoring the only goal for Vietnam in the 3-2 loss to Iraq.
Potential Vietnam XI: Tuan Manh; Ngoc Hai, Tien Dung, Van Hau, Hong Duy; Trong Hoang, Xuan Truong, Huy Hung, Quang Hai; Cong Phuong, Van Toan.
|Goalkeepers||Beiranvand, Abedzadeh, Niazmand|
|Defenders||Ghafouri, Hajsafi, Mohammadi, Pouraliganji, Kanaanizadegan, Montazeri, Hosseini, Rezaeian|
|Midfielders||Cheshmi, Nourollahi, Shojaei, Ebrahimi, Amiri, Ghoddos, Torabi, Jahanbakhsh, Dejagah|
|Forwards||Ansarifard, Taremi, Azmoun|
Mehdi Taremi netted a brace in the opening 5-0 win against Yemen and should be expected to retain his place in the XI.
Potential Iran XI: Beiranvand; Hajsafi, Montazeri, Rezaeian, Pouraliganji; Shojaei, Dejagah, Amiri; Ansarifard, Taremi, Azmoun.
Betting & Match Odds
Iran are priced at odds of winning 2/9 according to bet 365 , while a draw is available at 5/1. A win for Vietnam is priced at 12/1.
Iran are favourites to win this year's Asian Cup along with South Korea, and will do well to build on the momentum that saw them nearly qualify for a spot in the World Cup round of 16 in Russia in 2018.
This year's team are coached by fabled Portugal manager Carlos Queiroz, and have one of the most talented sides in their history since the "golden generation" that knocked Australia out of qualifying for the 1998 World Cup held in France.
They have not, however, won the Asian Cup or made the final of the tournament for 43 years, though they could change history this year.
Amiens forward Saman Ghoddos capped off the scoring in the 5-0 rout as Iran gave a performance that cemented their status as frontrunners in the competition, though he was sure to dismiss any early dreaming for any possible glory for the current generation of the Iran side.
The team won the Asian Cup three times during the 1960s and 1970s, though the midfielder has insisted that his side not get carried away with the first result.
"That's not a thought in our minds right now, because it's a long tournament and it's tough games," Ghoddos told reporters.
"We're just looking forward to the next game, and right now that's Vietnam. That's important for us, to just think about the next game and not think too many steps in front.
"To be honest I haven't watched the other games, just to keep focused on my own game, so I don't know the level yet.
"The coach and his team have analysed them and we have watched some videos. It's a good team, all respect to them. However, we are going to play our game and we are not thinking so much about the other team."
Vietnam coach Park has acknowledged Iran's strong side but made sure to cast aside worry and doubt that may have lingered from their opening tournament defeat to Iraq.
"We will be playing the strongest team in Asia tomorrow. They are technically, tactically and physically better than us but having said that, we will play to our strengths to get the desired result," said Park.
"It will be very hard for us as Iran are a highly experienced side but my players have got strong mental strength and I believe we can overcome Iran."