MATILDAS coach Alen Stajcic has been dealt a lemon in the AFC Asian Cup draw but he chooses to overcome the lopsided scenario on the pitch with results rather than words.
Although Australia is expected to belt Vietnam in the nation’s second Group B clash on Wednesday morning at Amman Stadium (EST) to send that emerging football nation crashing out of the competition, it’s the nature of the draw which has raised eyebrows across Asia.
“The most important thing is worrying about ourselves and how we’re going to play against Vietnam and Japan (in the third match) and also moving into the future,’’ Stajcic said.
However the draw has come under scrutiny as Australia (FIFA-ranked sixth) has Japan (11th), South Korea (16th) in its group with Vietnam (35th) who are a clear outside chance of even scoring a goal let alone earning a point at this tournament.
In an incredible scenario China (FIFA-ranked 17th) is the clear favourite to win Group A.
China faces the Philippines (72nd) and hosts Jordan (51st) in its final group matches after trouncing Thailand (30th) 4-0 in the opening clash in Amman.
However Vietnam boss Mai Duc Chung isn’t upset that his side got rolled when the Asian Football Confederation’s draw pitted three top 20 FIFA-ranked teams in Group B.
With the Matildas next up after his side’s 4-0 loss to Japan on the opening night in Amman all Mai Duc Chung did when asked what he thought about the group of death was a shrug of the shoulders and a smile given FIFA will award five spots to the top-ranked nations at the tournament in Jordan.
He knows Vietnam realistically got dudded for a spot at next year’s FIFA World Cup in France as Australia is expected to add a much-needed goals tally and three points in its quest to win the tournament as favourites after Sunday’s 0-0 draw with South Korea.
Vietnam was always expected to finish in bottom place even before meeting Australia.
That scenario will see Vietnam — FIFA-ranked 35th — eliminated given third-placed teams from each group will play off the for the fifth World Cup spot on Tuesday week.
“Yes it’s true we were unlucky when we drew Korea, Japan and Australia in this group,’’ Mai Duc Chung said at Amman Stadium on Monday.
“They’re all very strong teams and from the beginning all the team staff and players they all wished we could qualify for the World Cup (for the first time) because we lost the chance in 2014 (at our home Asian Cup).
“It’s a big challenge for the Vietnamese women we already understood the situation before we came here and understood the emotion and our fans also understood this.
“If we were drawn in the other group maybe we had some chance of (qualifying for the World Cup).”