Vietnam targets a World Cup 2026 spot

16:05 | 12/07/2019 Society

Vietnam has targeted booking a place in the 2026 World Cup, according to the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) deputy chairman Tran Quoc Tuan.

By 2026, Vietnam's national football team will include young aces currently playing with the U15 and U18 teams - Photo:

“The World Cup 2026 will be held in the US, Canada and Mexico," said Tuan. "At this event, FIFA approved an expansion to 48 teams, with a format of 16 groups of three nations. This means Asia will have seven or eight slots to compete for. This helps Vietnam and other countries in Southeast Asia have a great chance to play in the world’s biggest football tournament."

“Although it will be very difficult, we will make every effort," Tuan said. "Besides national senior teams, we will invest in U15 and U18 footballers to help us earn a place in the tournament."

Tuan said this is a positive time for Vietnamese football as it has received great interest from fans, businesses and even State leaders.

“The VFF has built plans and relationships to bring necessary conditions for senior and young teams,” said Tuan.

Vietnam ranked 15th in Asia in the FIFA rankings in June. The team will have to improve to qualify from a crowded Asian field in one of seven or eight slots.

The national football teams have achieved great advances in recent times including being the runners-up of the AFC U23 Championship in 2018, finishing fourth in the Asian Games in 2019, winning the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2018 and being one of the eight best teams in the Asian Cup earlier this year.

If Vietnam are to gain a slot in the World Cup, the players from its "golden generation" will be an experienced and formidable squad by the time of the tournament. Nguyen Cong Phuong, midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai, defender Doan Van Hau and midfielder Tran Dinh Trong will likely lead the way, and will be joined by younger stars currently in the youth teams.