The victory over Jordan on January 20 established a new milestone in the history of Vietnamese football. This is the first victory of Vietnam in the round of knockout Asian Cup. That’s how many times in more than a year, have we dumped milestones and rewrote history?
From Changzhou snow white to the UAE desert, Southeast Asia’s very small team is still fighting, winning and extending its own limits. The army of Park Hang-seo coach still makes fans and perhaps even themselves go from surprise to surprise.
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The History Of Vietnam U23 Soccer Team’s Victory Peaks
Asian U23 runner-up, coming to ASIAD men’s soccer semifinals and winning the AFF Cup – perhaps the most dreamer did not think that Vietnamese football reached such milestones in the same year, especially when we have just undergone 2017, is overshadowed by the failure of U22 Vietnam at SEA Games 29.
In 2003, the Vietnamese team flocked to South Korea when it returned from the World Cup thanks to Van Quyen’s goal.
In 2007, continued to be the Vietnam team to defeat the UAE 2-0 at My Dinh, winning tickets to the Asian Cup quarter finals.
In 2015, Toshiya Miura’s team held a draw against Iraq, shining brightly to compete for the final round of the 2018 World Cup.
In 2018, a wonderful year of Vietnamese football occurred.
How To Build A Vietnam U23 Soccer Team’s Victory Peaks?
What leads us to not only one but many peaks?
What strength has helped Quang Hai generation maintain the momentum of excitement and endless inspiration?
There is no white space in the continental arena
An impressive victory may be just luck. A good tournament may be a drop in form. But a lot of victories, lots of tournaments, that is class.
What is the common point between these victories? They all took place a long time apart. They are momentary, unexpected, do not represent the development of football. Those victories did not signal or open any new era, they were a beautiful milestone but not the golden key.
It was not until the coach of Park Hang-seo came to Vietnam, to Quang Hai generation with the starting point of the 2016 U19 Asian Finals, Vietnam football moved to a new page. That is when we constantly compete flatly on the continent, continually defeating rivals across the continent. That is when Vietnamese players are no longer worried about going to Asia, for the first time in many years, we dismiss the fear of Thailand from thinking.
When the Vietnamese team overtook Malaysia to win the 2018 AFF Cup, many fans still felt a sense of imperfection. When our team surpasses Yemen and win tickets to the knockout round, the joy of the players is also very moderate.
It wasn’t until we defeated Jordan that the emotions were really explosive.
Why is that? Wasn’t the AFF Cup championship or simply an Asian Cup event that made us crave?
Because after the real feats in the continental arena, almost fans and the players thought that victory was normal, even of course. That thought was a double-edged sword because it lowered the team’s victory. But, Vietnam has seemingly reached a new level.
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We never say that is enough
Sharing during the press conference after the January 22 defeat to Korea, manager Miroslav Soukup of Bahrain said: “After 90 minutes, many people may think they have returned to the shootout. The players were a bit tired and thought 1-1 might be enough. But I told my players that it is not enough. Even if we play with Australia or South Korea, it is still not enough. Because we have the right to aspire, we have the right to think of a better result ”.
Those were the emotional sentiments of Soukup after a close match with the 1-2 before Korea. That match, Bahrain was led but struggled. They equalized the final match, drawing South Korean superstar Son Heung-min in 120 minutes of extra time and almost got a chance to beat the opponent on penalties.
“I still tell the players that it is not enough.”
That is probably the same sentence that Mr. Park told the Vietnamese players during the past year. Because if anyone thought that was enough, there would be no ASIAD, no UAE, no AFF Cup championship.
Many people used the word “miracle” to talk about the victory of the Vietnamese team against Jordan. But Mr. Park probably doesn’t like that. When the whistle ended Jordan’s battle, the Korean coach just stood and watched silently. He did not celebrate, did not jump. He stood there for a few seconds, silently watching the boys and quickly walked inside.
He did not call it a miracle perhaps because imagination still wanted to go further. Before, when all were skeptical of the chance to defeat Jordan, he slowly said, “I know what to do to handle them.”
Luckily for us, because Mr. Park and the team have never clicked their tongue: that’s enough.
Change in tactics
Throughout the 2018 year to 2019, from U23 to Olympic and national team, Coach Park Hang-seo witnessed and handled many changes in the team.
The observant will realize, the three major gatherings of Vietnam are three different captains. Luong Xuan Truong is the first captain with U23 Vietnam, Nguyen Van Quyet is the next leader at the Olympics and recruits the country while Que Ngoc Hai is the captain at the Asian Cup. Three tournaments, three times to replace leadership, to maintain stability for the team was a great success.
Not only that, Coach Park Hang-seo has successfully maintained the 3-4-3 system with the foundation of three midfielders – those who will later become the most important names (besides Quang Hai) in every victory of Vietnam.
In U23 Asia, the three midfielders include Dinh Trong, Duy Manh, and Tien Dung. To the AFF Cup and the Asian Cup, the trio continuously changed and changed. The fluctuations are so great that coach Park Hang-seo used to call young center-back Ho Tan Tai to recruit as a backup plan. But despite that, the system of those three with Ngoc Hai is the leader still playing extremely well.
On public goods, the situation is similar. Mr. Park used to rely on Quang Hai in U23 Asia to search for goals. To ASIAD and AFF Cup, he put his faith in Anh Duc. So when Anh Duc retired from the team, Cong Phuong immediately took the opportunity.
From goalkeeper to wingback, from central midfield to striker, the most critical points that seem irreplaceable have been changed by Mr. Park.
For more than a year, only two players actually occupied the main kick in the squad of Park Hang-seo. They are Quang Hai and Duy Manh. All other people have been absent for many times.
Will miracles of Vietnam U23 football team continue to happen?
The path of Vietnamese football is going with many similarities with the way Thailand used to go. After the achievement of the 2014 ASIAD semi-final, Thai football also opened a period of regional domination before reaching beyond the continent. At this time, although there have not been positive achievements in Asia like Vietnam, Thai people have begun to be recognized as a force not only of Southeast Asia.
Despite the result of tomorrow’s match with Japan, Asia is no longer a distant dream of Vietnamese football.
That change was still successful, which is the proof of Park Hang-Seo’s philosophy in Vietnamese teams for over a year. Thus, miracles of Vietnam U23 football team are sure to continue to happen many times.
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