Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune
8.10.2010, 19:00 IST

India National Football Team is all set to face a strong and resurgent Vietnam in an International Friendly here in Pune’s magnificent Balewadi Sports Complex come Friday. The second of the triplets,  promises to be a tough affair for India, as Vietnam have had a decent show in their last three Internationals.

India’s recent form has been very ordinary. The build-up towards the all important Asian Cup couldn’t have been worse. Twin defeats to Thailand & a home defeat to Hong Kong has dented the confidence considerably. A comprehensive win over under-strength Namibia was the only bright spot.

To be fair to Bob Houghton, team India has been severely weakened by injuries. His tactics focuses heavily on wing-play combined with well aimed crosses towards the penalty box. Steven Dias, one of the best crossers in the Indian team, has been out injured for a while now. He did come on as a substitute in the last match but didn’t look fully fit. Injury to NS Manju further weakened the team as Rahim Nabi had play as a makeshift left-back. Houghton’s side was often exploited by the Hong Kong attackers.

Centre-halves Mehrajuddin & Climax Lawrence had an ordinary game. They didn’t provide enough openings to the front two. Most of India’s chances were created by right-winger Anthony Perreira. The forwards didn’t make use of whatever service that came their way. Chhetri lamented the loss of Bhaichung Bhutia after the match. Both Abhishek Yadav & Sunil are capable strikers but their partnership is yet to blossom.

Steven Dias, a crucial player

India’s opponents in this game have made improvement by leaps & bounds in last 2 years. Under coach Henrique Calisto, the “Golden Stars” captured ASEAN Cup in 2008. This was Vietnam’s first major trophy and they defeated higher ranked Thailand in the final. A week ago they finished runner-up in Thai Long-Hanoi football Cup, finishing behind world-cuppers North Korea.

With the 2010 version of ASEAN Cup coming up in December, the Vietnam players would like to impress . For this edition of ASEAN Cup Vietnam will both be host as well as defending champions, increasing the importance of the tournament. Vietnam U-16 team recently won AFF Under-16 Championship. They also reached quarter finals of Asian Cup 2007, losing to eventual champion Iraq.

Sunil Chhetri : the Delhi Dynamite

India is most likely to retain the 4-4-2 formation for this match. Gourmangi Singh will combine with Anwar in the heart of the defence. If Manju is still unavailable Nabi will marshal the left back position. Surkumar will start as right-back. Clifford Miranda performed pretty well in last game and is likely to retain his position in left wing with Anthony Perreira on the opposite flank. Climax Lawrence will partner Baldeep Singh in the heart of midfield.

Sunil Chhetri & Abhishek Yadav look all set to start this game. Both Bhaichung & Rafi are unavailable. Steven Dias & N Pradeep may make cameo appearances.

Pre-Match Press Conference

TheHardTackle’s guest correspondent Amod Kulkarni was present at the pre-match press conference. Some excerpts from the conference are as follows.

Bob Houghton

– Their famous Victory Celebrations at Home in Hanoi are fabulous.

– Have managed to beat their ASEAN counterparts Thailand twice in the recent past.

– Currently we have a squad of 30 and can only have 23 for Qatar.

– Have to try out players revolving around the nucleus of the team to arrive at a conclusion.

– JCT midfielder Baldeep Singh would make his India Debut tomorrow!

– Good opportunity for the young lad and others to make a mark.

Calisto, the man behind Vietnam’s resurgence

Henrique Calisto

– Its a pleasure to visit India for the first time for an International Friendly.

– This match would be treated as a preparation for the upcoming Suzuki Cup.

– Have had a good show against Korea in our last match and we would continue with the momentum.

– Indian team has developed over last few years into a tough and fighting opposition.

– Results are not important. Playing good football is important.

– Consistency in game is the key for us.

– We will be concentrating hard on last 20 minutes of our play as one of our targets for tomorrow.

Starting XI

India : Subrata Paul; Surkumar, Gourmangi, Anwar Ali, Rahim Nabi; Clifford Miranda, Climax Lawrence, Baldeep Singh, Anthony Perreira; Abhishek Yadav, Sunil Chhetri

Results in last 5 matches


31/08/2009India vs Syria6-5
4/9/2010Thailand vs India1-0
8/9/2010India vs Thailand1-2
15/9/2010India vs Namibia2-0
4/10/2010India vs Hong Kong0-1


7/01/2010Vietnam vs China1-2
6/5/2010Vietnam vs Eintracht Frankfurt0-2
8/9/2010Vietnam vs Kuwait U233-0
15/9/2010Vietnam vs Australia U230-2
4/10/2010Vietnam vs Korea DPR0-0

THT Player to watch out for

Anthony Perreira – The Dempo winger has been one of the few bright spots in last few games. He has terrified opponent full-backs with his dazzling pace. While he plays decently as a conventional touchline hogging winger, he is also effective when cutting back from the wings. His efforts were rewarded with a goal against Namibia. Keep an eye out for this trailblazer!

India would for sure make full use of such quality opposition. Pune’s football fanatics will be all set to witness their own Team India in action on Friday again, as the 7 PM evening starts are at an ideal time for The Beautiful Game!

Somnath Sengupta and Amod Kulkarni

5 Responses to “India v Vietnam: Preview And Pre-Match Press Conference”

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  1. Shashank Jain says:

    Come on INDIA!

    The support for Indian Football is growing. If this coincides with a few good performances by the team, it will be just what the game needs in the country.

    Kudos to THT for covering the press conference in person. The intent is clearly visible. This is one of the most comprehensive football websites in the country – there’s no doubt about it.

    Keep up the good work.

  2. Sounak says:

    @Shashank: Thanks from the THT team. We’ll try to keep it up. Please spread the word.

  3. Rahul says:

    Chak de INDIA. . .