Australia’s hopes of qualifying for the 2016 Olympic Games fell apart against Jordan on Wednesday, while Vietnam left the AFC U23 Championship with their heads held high despite losing to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Aurelio Vidmar’s side needed to win against the Jordanians to advance to the quarter-finals and maintain their hopes of playing at the Games in Rio de Janeiro in the summer.
But Vidmar’s team was unable to find a way through against a well-drilled side that sought to stifle and disrupt at every opportunity, with the 0-0 draw enough for the Jordanians to join the UAE in the next phase of the competition.
“It was a very difficult game for us, but we knew that coming into the game,” said Vidmar. “We knew we would probably control most of the game, but we weren’t able to break the deadlock. I can’t fault the players, they gave everything they could but unfortunately we weren’t able to get the result.”
Australia finished in third place in Group D having lost their opening fixture against the UAE before putting themselves back on track with a 2-0 victory over Vietnam that left the Olyroos counting on a similar result in the final game to progress.
“All-in-all we probably didn’t start very well with the game against the UAE,” said Vidmar. “I thought we were good enough to get out of the group, but what you wish for you don’t always get. We probably didn’t play as well as we should have in that first game but that’s the way it goes.”
Vietnam were already eliminated after the second round of games but went close to registering the shock of the tournament when they twice took the lead against the UAE before losing 3-2.
Nguyen Cong Phuong put Vietnam in front from the penalty spot before an own goal by Pham Hoang Lam levelled the scores.
But a fine strike by Nguyen Tuan Anh restored Vietnam’s lead, only for goals from Mohamed Al Akbari and Ahmed Al Hashmi in the final 17 minutes to seal the three points for the UAE, who will now meet Iraq in the quarter-finals.
“I am disappointed with the result as until 2-2 we played very well, and after that we broke up the game,” said Vietnam trainer Toshiya Miura, whose team still finished bottom of the group. “We had to win and in that kind of situation our players do not have enough experience.
“I will not criticise the players as they played well. The first goal was an own goal and the second goal the UAE player tried to cross the ball and made a mistake and he scored. We played well until the score was 2-2.
“Due to our inexperience we lost, but I hope they (the team) get a good experience for the future.”
Photo: Asian Football Confederationcomments