|This image captured from the Korea Football Association's Instagram page shows the promotional poster for the friendly match between South Korea and Vietnam scheduled for March 26, 2019, in Hanoi. On the left is South Korea head coach Paulo Bento opposite his Vietnam counterpart Park Hang-seo. Yonhap|
South Korea and Korean-coached Vietnam will play their men's football friendly in March as scheduled, officials here said Tuesday.
The countries will square off in Hanoi on March 26 as the reigning champions of their regional tournaments. South Korea won the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship in 2017, while Vietnam captured the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup in December.
On Dec. 15, the EAFF and the AFF agreed to pit the winners of these tournaments in a biennial showdown dubbed the AFF-EAFF Champions Trophy. The AFF champions will host these matches.
According to the Korea Football Association (KFA), Vietnam, coached by South Korean Park Hang-seo, wanted the game switched to June, citing scheduling conflict with the country's under-23 team. Park manages the U-23 and the senior squads.
But South Korea, coached by former Portugal boss Paulo Bento, is also scheduled to play other international matches between June 3-11. The sides then agreed to go ahead with the March 26 date.
Park has worked magic with the upstart nation since taking over in 2017. Vietnam finished second at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in January last year. Then at the Asian Games in Indonesia, Vietnam lost to Park's native South Korea 3-1 in the semifinals before finishing in fourth place. It had never reached beyond the round of 16 in four previous Asian Games appearances.
The Suzuki Cup victory over Malaysia was Vietnam's first regional championship in 10 years.
Vietnam and South Korea are competing at the AFC Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates. South Korea beat the Philippines 1-0 in its first Group C match in Dubai, and Vietnam will take on Iraq to open its Group D play later in Abu Dhabi later on Tuesday. (Yonhap)