On Sunday evening (Qatar time), just one day after the Vietnamese U23 team clinched a victory over Malaysia, they returned to the practice field.

Their 2-0 win, coupled with Uzbekistan’s 5-0 triumph over Kuwait on Saturday, secured Vietnam a top-two finish in Group D and a spot in the quarterfinals.

The two teams are set to face off on Tuesday to determine the Group D winners, who will have the advantage of avoiding defending champions Saudi Arabia, currently leading Group C after 4-2 and 5-0 victories over Tajikistan and Thailand, respectively.

With high stakes at play, Vietnam are being constantly reminded to maintain maximum focus on their crucial final Group D match.

Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Van Truong gives an interview before a training session at the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024 in Qatar, April 21, 2024. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation

Before the training session on Sunday, midfielder Nguyen Van Truong noted that the entire team are in good health, though some players are managing injuries, illnesses, or minor pains and are pushing hard to return to play soon.

“Coach is right. Although after the victory against Malaysia, the whole team was very happy, we must quickly regain our focus,” Truong said.

“Every match is important, and the whole team must enter the competition with the utmost determination.

“Uzbekistan are quite strong compared to Vietnam.

“I think the two teams will put on a good show.”

Hoang Anh Tuan, head coach of Vietnam’s U23 national team, during a training session at the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024 in Qatar, April 21, 2024. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation

Reflecting on the victory over Malaysia, head coach Tuan credited a tactical adjustment in the second half.

“I’m satisfied with the match; the players did a good job,” Tuan told the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

“They followed the tactics and were very disciplined, leading to a very good result for Vietnam.

“It was a difficult match. Malaysia are not a weak team. We suffered in the last part of the match.

“In the second half, we played on the counter, and it worked.”

Vietnamese central back Nguyen Ngoc Thang during a training session at the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024 in Qatar, April 21, 2024. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation

On Wednesday last week, Vietnam handed Kuwait a 3-1 defeat.

Both Malaysia and Kuwait were eliminated after suffering two consecutive defeats each.

The two sides will have an honorary confrontation on Tuesday.

Vietnam’s U23 players during a training session at the AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024 in Qatar, April 21, 2024. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation

The AFC U23 Asian Cup 2024 is the sixth edition of the biennial international age-restricted football championship organized by the AFC for the men’s under-23 national teams of Asia.

The tournament is being held from April 15 to May 3 in Qatar, featuring 16 teams in four groups.

It also acts as the AFC qualifiers for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.