SURPRISE qualifiers Vietnam are hoping another shock will be on the cards when they meet Iraq in the Asian Cup quarter-finals tomorrow.
Few tipped the Vietnamese to reach the last eight and even fewer will back them against an Iraqi team which, on paper, should have easy passage to the semi-finals.
Coach Alfred Riedl accepts his young squad are not in the same league as the bigger, stronger and fitter Iraqi players, but believes luck may still be on Vietnam's side.
'We've been lucky getting here, but luck is a big factor in football,' said the Austrian.
'I'm a little bit surprised we qualified. We were lucky, but we have played well against good teams.'
Vietnam were expected to finish bottom of Group B but with the help of raucous home support in the sweltering Hanoi heat, they reached the quarter-finals for the first time since 1960, losing only to three-times Asian Cup champions Japan.
South-east Asia's hopes of success in the tournament now rest with Vietnam following the elimination of co-hosts Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia.
Riedl, in his third stint as Vietnam coach, knows the odds are against his team.
'Iraq are the favourites, we are the underdogs, but everything is possible in football,' he said.
'When you get to the quarter-finals, the air gets thinner, teams become stronger. We have to deal with what we are given.
'Iraq are a physically stronger team, their players are all very tall, which will be a problem for us. But we will be out there trying to score goals, because we can't wait for chances.'
A 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates and a 1-1 draw with Qatar earned Vietnam enough points to reach the final eight as the second qualifier behind Japan.
Iraq drew with Thailand and Oman thumped pre-tournament favourites Australia 3-1 to finish top of Group A. - Reuters.