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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 02:37 GMT 03:37 UK
Wedding plans mar Vietnam match
Phan Van Tai Em (white shirt)
Phan Van Tai Em (in white) will be busy elsewhere on Saturday
Vietnam's footballer of the year Phan Van Tai Em will miss his team's Asian Cup quarter-final against Iraq after he planned his wedding for the same day.

Saturday's match in Bangkok will be the first time that Vietnam has reached the Asian Cup knockout stages in 47 years.

Team coach Alfred Riedl has said he is disappointed by the midfielder's lack of faith in the Vietnamese team.

"He's invited all the guests already. He just didn't believe the team had a chance," he told Reuters news agency.

"It's very disappointing that he has no confidence in his team, or he would not have arranged his wedding for the same day as the quarter-finals," Riedl said.


With the help of huge home support, co-hosts Vietnam finished a surprise second in Group B behind three-times champions Japan.

Vietnam's soccer coach Alfred Riedl during a team training session (19 July, 2007)
Riedl is unhappy about the midfielder's attitude

Riedl accepts his squad are not in the same league as the stronger and fitter Iraqi players, but believes Vietnam could still be in with a chance.

"We've been lucky getting here, but luck is a big factor in football," he said.

South East Asia's hopes of success in the tournament are with Vietnam following the elimination of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.

A 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates and a 1-1 with draw with Qatar sparked scenes of jubilation in Hanoi and earned Vietnam enough points to reach the final eight as the second qualifier behind Japan.

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