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Vietnam’s top striker Nguyen Tien Linh tests positive for coronavirus prior to Australia game

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Vietnam’s star striker Nguyen Tien Linh has tested positive for COVID-19 before he could join other members of the national football team in Hanoi to prepare for the upcoming games in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Australia and China.

A rapid test found Linh positive prior to his flight to Hanoi on Thursday morning.

The footballer then underwent a real-time RT-PCR test and got a similar result.

The Golden Dragons’ top striker, who has scored seven goals in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, is the third player in the national squad to have contracted the virus.

The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) confirmed earlier this month that striker Nguyen Van Toan and key midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc had caught the pathogen.

This will give coach Park Hang Seo a hard time preparing for the upcoming games against Australia and China in the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which are scheduled to take place on January 27 and February 1.

Vietnamese striker Van Toan (in white) at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020. Photo: VFF

Vietnamese striker Nguyen Van Toan (in white) controls the ball at the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 in Singapore, December 2021. Photo: VFF

Duc had a negative test on Tuesday and may be able to join the team before their trip to Australia on January 21.

Meanwhile, Linh and Toan are unlikely to make it.

Coach Park previously summoned five strikers, namely Linh, Toan, Nguyen Cong Phuong, Pham Tuan Hai, and Ho Thanh Minh to prepare for the forthcoming matches.

With the potential absence of Linh and Toan, the coach may have to call up additional players.

This is the first time Vietnam have appeared in the final round of World Cup qualification. 

The Golden Dragons are last in Group B, which also includes Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Japan, so they retain no hopes to advance after having lost all six games so far.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20220113/vietnam-s-top-striker-nguyen-tien-linh-tests-positive-for-coronavirus-prior-to-australia-game/65209.html

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Việt Nam face player shortage in run-up to Australia clash

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With seven players out, including striker Nguyễn Tiến Linh, Coach Park Hang–seo has a puzzle to solve before the match against Australia. Photo vff.org.vn

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam’s World Cup qualifying campaign will resume against Australia in just six days but a shortage of available players is causing a headache for coach Park Hang–seo.

COVID-19, injuries, suspensions and visa issues are the four main problems at the moment.

A week after testing positive with COVID-19, Nguyễn Tiến Linh is now fully recovered. However, Linh hasn’t yet completed the quarantine period, so the 24–year–old striker can’t meet the visa deadline to enter Australia.

This is also the case for Hoàng Anh Gia Lai striker Nguyễn Văn Toàn.

Linh’s absence is a big loss for Việt Nam. Despite only scoring twice in the AFF Cup, he is still Việt Nam’s best attacking asset.

In 2021, Linh scored seven goals. He also scored in the final three matches of the World Cup second qualifying round in June, helping Việt Nam enter the third-round for the first time.

In this round of qualifiers, Linh found the net against China and Oman, two strong opponents.

After Linh and Toàn tested positive, South Korean oach Park called up Trần Phi Sơn and Ngân Văn Đại, but the duo have since faced visa issues as they were not on the original invitation list of the host Australia.

Việt Nam’s remaining striker Hà Đức Chinh and midfielder Nguyễn Tuấn Anh are also out due to injuries.

The bad luck continues as former captain Quế Ngọc Hải is suspended, having received two yellow cards in previous matches.

The absence of these seven important players, coupled with a strong Australian side looking to qualify for their sixth World Cup, has created a difficult puzzle for coach Park to try and solve. 

Việt Nam will face Australia in Melbourne on January 27 before hosting China at home on February 1 in their remaining world cup final qualifiers campaign.

The national team have yet to win any points and are rooted to the bottom of Group B. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1117711/viet-nam-face-player-shortage-in-run-up-to-australia-clash.html

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Problems keep on mounting for Everton

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BIG DUNC: Everton legend Duncan Ferguson has been made caretaker manager following the sacking of Rafa Benitez. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

One step forward, a million back. That just about sums up the general goings on at Everton Football Club these days.

It’s not a good time to be a Blue. One win in 13, defeat last week to the team at the bottom of the league, and languishing perilously close to the relegation zone.

Rafa Benitez got the bullet, and for the time being, club legend Duncan Ferguson has taken charge of the first team.

Next up for Everton is Aston Villa, and with former Liverpool captain Steve Gerrard in charge, more salt could be very well rubbed into Everton’s already gaping wound.

But the problem for the Blues isn’t really about the next game, or the one after that, and after that. Everton’s long-term problems are nothing short of gargantuan right now.

I accept there’s money being spent on a new stadium, and from the artist’s impression I’ve seen of the design, it looks amazing.

But Everton’s problems go beyond a few wins over the next few weeks.

I’ve no doubt Big Dunc will get the crowd buzzing, but the issues at Goodison Park are far more deep routed. Everton, I feel, have completely lost their identity. They have become a nothing, meaningless club.

There was talk this week that one name in the frame for the manager’s position is Roberto Martinez, the current manager of the Belgium national team and, of course, former manager of Everton.

Word on the street is the Belgium football authorities are unlikely to allow their national team manager to do both jobs, but the fact that he was even being considered speaks volumes for the lack of ambition currently displayed by Everton.

Martinez won nothing with Everton, and after an OK points tally in his first season (with a team almost entirely inherited from previous boss David Moyes) the former Wigan manager just went from bad to worse.

As his tenure was coming to an end, supporters had become disillusioned and made their anger known.

What followed after Martinez was basically a revolving door of managers who came and went without so much as threatening to bring back the glory days to Goodison.

Money was spent as well, a lot, and the backing from the board has been decent, especially compared to other mid-table Premier League teams.

But the cash was spent really badly, and now it’s Everton supporters that are paying the price.

Other names have been mentioned, Frank Lampard, Jose Mourinho, former Bayern Munich boss Niko Kovac, and even Wayne Rooney.

Rooney is doing wonders in his current job with Derby County, his first in management, but I feel he still lacks the experience to take over at Everton.

None of what I’ve written here will really bring any hope to the Everton faithful, but I don’t know what I can say to change that.

Everton are lost, a shadow of their former selves, and are light years away from getting anywhere close to challenging for trophies.

Whoever does get the job is going to be in for a real eyeopener when he walks into Goodison Park, so maybe their best bet is to give Duncan Ferguson a chance.

Unlikely they will get relegated this season, there are still three teams or more worse than Everton, but at least with Big Dunc he knows the job at hand.

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1117712/problems-keep-on-mounting-for-everton.html

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New captain Dũng aims for Tết special against China

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Newly-appointed captain Đỗ Hùng Dũng (fourth from left) will look to make a big impact in the remaining World Cup qualifiers, after a serious injury ruled him out for most of last year. — Photo vff.org.vn

HÀ NỘI — Returning after a serious leg-break almost a year ago, Đỗ Hùng Dũng is back in the national squad and, with the captain’s armband, is ready to stamp his authority on Việt Nam’s remaining World Cup qualifiers against Australia, China, Oman and Japan.

The national team will face China at the Mỹ Đình stadium on the first day of Lunar New Year, a game that will mean a lot for Dũng.

“This will be a unique Tết celebration and we hope we can bring a very special performance to match,” Dũng said.

“As we know, the Mỹ Đình stadium will welcome about 20,000 fans to watch the national team face China on the first day of Lunar New Year.

“With that many fans, it will be a huge motivation for us. We hope for a great performance, but remember to comply with the pandemic prevention regulations when cheering for us.

“Of course, I will miss my family when we play during Tết, as this is one of very few family-gathering occasions, but it will still be special for me,” said the 28-year-old midfielder.

Returning to football after an awful tackle in a game against Hồ Chí Minh City FC sidelined him in March last year, Dũng has put his all into getting back into the form that saw him win the Vietnamese Golden Ball in 2019.

Despite being advised not to rush his recovery, Dũng never says “No” when his nation calls.

By the end of 2021, he was ready to play ago, though missed out on a chance to play at the AFF Suzuki Cup in Singapore due to a paperwork issue.

The newly-appointed national-side captain knows he has big shoes to fill in taking over from Quế Ngọc Hải, but isn’t lacking confidence. 

“I’m fully confident in myself,” Dũng said.

“We all trust each other explicitly; players and coaching staff. Myself or anyone else with this responsibility will always motivate the team to do the best.

“Of course, before being called up Coach Park consulted the medical department on how to get us into the best shape and condition to compete at the highest level.

“That’s why I am confident and will put in the best performance possible for the nation.”

Việt Nam will face Australia away on January 27th and China at home on February 1st. The national team have yet to win any points and are rooted to the bottom of Group B. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1117223/new-captain-dung-aims-for-tet-special-against-china.html

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