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Toe Poke
By ESPN Staff

Vietnam coach bemoans height disadvantage

BANGKOK, July 22 (Reuters) - Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl is worried his team will continue to struggle against the higher-ranked nations in the region because they are too small to compete in big matches.

After Vietnam were defeated 2-0 by Iraq in the Asian Cup quarter-finals on Saturday, Riedl said his young players did not stand a chance because they were shorter and weaker than their opponents.

'The problem we have is we are just too small,' the Austrian told a news conference.

'Playing in Southeast Asia we can be successful, but we struggle in the rest of Asia because we are too small and this is a big problem.

He added: 'Today we played a very strong team, they had the physical advantage, and we couldn't do anything about that.'

Riedl, who is in his third stint as Vietnam coach, said the players had enough skill and talent to compete with the rest of Asia but would always be hamstrung by their height.

'We can do our best to improve our football but this is one problem I cannot fix,' said the former national team coach of Austria and Palestine.

'The players' class is there but we will lose matches against teams of similar ability only because they are bigger than us.'

Co-hosts Vietnam were the surprise package of the tournament and caused a sensation back home when the finished second in Group B behind Japan in their first Asian Cup since 1960.