Vietnam have made history as they advanced to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time ever, after a five-goal thriller against the hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE) on June 15 (local time).
Vietnamese midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai (red jersey No.19) in action (Photo: VNA)
Though they fell to a 3-2 defeat away to the UAE and lost top spot in Group G, Vietnam advanced as one of the five best group runners-up.
Shortly after the start of the second half of the Vietnam-UAE game, Australia sealed a 1-0 win over Jordan, confirming Vietnam’s berth.
Although they conceded three goals, Vietnam showed their indomitability and scored two consolations by Nguyen Tien Linh in the 85th minute and Tran Minh Vuong in the second minute of stoppage time.
Nguyen Tien Linh (in red) scored for Vietnam in the 85th minute (Photo: VNA)
While they may have limped over the finish line, Vietnam are fully deserving of their place in the next round thanks to some gritty performances throughout a marathon qualification campaign lengthened by the pandemic.
Vietnam defeated Indonesia 4-0 and Malaysia 2-1 in previous fixtures as the second qualifying round resumed this month.
They are the sole representatives of Southeast Asia among the squads qualifying for the final round, which is slated for September./.
At a press conference ahead the match, head coach of the Vietnamese national team Park Hang-seo said the strategy remains in the right place though the UAE beat three other Southeast Asian rivals, namely Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.