Tuesday, 11 Dec 2018
PHOTO GALLERY
Vietnam's U23 squad returns to fans' storming ovation
Updated at Sunday, 28 Jan 2018, 18:41
After their stunning success at the AFC U23 Championship 2018 in China, Vietnam U23 have returned home and received a very warm welcome from fans across the country.
Vietnam U23 dropped their historic AFC championship title after succumbing to a narrow 1-2 defeat to Uzbekistan in the final of the 2018 competition in China on January 27.
However, with their brave fighting spirit until the last minute, Park Hang-Seo’s players have become the victors in the hearts of millions of Vietnamese football lovers.
Vietnam´s Under 23 football squad got a rapturous welcome home on January 28 from thousands of fans lining the streets of the capital, even though they fell short of a championship win.
Surrounded by fans and well-wishers who shrugged off light rain, the double-decker took five hours to reach the city centre from the airport, a journey which normally takes 40 minutes.
The team has been cheered on by fans across Southeast Asia, which according to Foxsports Asia, is "the real prize," "a legacy" that will help erase ASEAN's inferiority complex at international tournaments.
Vietnam still has to catch up with the likes of Japan and South Korea, wrote John Durden on Foxsports Asia, but the gap is not as big as before. More importantly, it is the success that unites the country on so many levels, many observers said.
Huge crowds took to the streets to celebrate Vietnam's win over Qatar, and even when the team lost in the final to Uzbekistan. “There have not been that many national flags in Hanoi in decades,” 77-year-old resident Ha Anh Tue told AFP.

 
Coach Park Hang-seo at the plane at Noi Bai International Airport.
Coach Park Hang-seo at the plane at Noi Bai International Airport.
Goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung struggles to go past a sea of supporters trying to get a picture of him at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi.
Goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung struggles to go past a sea of supporters trying to get a picture of him at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi.
The bus carrying the national U23 football team is welcomed by a sea of red in Hanoi.
The bus carrying the national U23 football team is welcomed by a sea of red in Hanoi.
An overhead view of Noi Bai Airport where the U23 football team are welcomed home after an incredible journey.
An overhead view of Noi Bai Airport where the U23 football team are welcomed home after an incredible journey.
Fans are over the moon upon seeing their national heroes.
Fans are over the moon upon seeing their national heroes.
Vietnam's U23 football players greet euphoric fans in Hanoi.
Vietnam's U23 football players greet euphoric fans in Hanoi.
Huge crowds line up the streets of Hanoi where the bus carrying Vietnam's U23 football team is set to pass.
Huge crowds line up the streets of Hanoi where the bus carrying Vietnam's U23 football team is set to pass.
The team were greeted by thousands of fans who lined some 30 kilometres along the streets from the airport to the Government Office waving the national flags.
The team were greeted by thousands of fans who lined some 30 kilometres along the streets from the airport to the Government Office waving the national flags.
At the Government Office, the team was presented certificates of merit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for their outstanding performance at the AFC U23 Championship 2018.
At the Government Office, the team was presented certificates of merit by Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc for their outstanding performance at the AFC U23 Championship 2018.
PM Phuc also presented a first-class Labour Medal to the U23 team and three third-class Labour Medals to head coach Park Hang-seo, midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai and goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung for their excellent contribution at the tournament.
PM Phuc also presented a first-class Labour Medal to the U23 team and three third-class Labour Medals to head coach Park Hang-seo, midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai and goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung for their excellent contribution at the tournament.
The U23 football team's fans range from babies to seniors.
The U23 football team's fans range from babies to seniors.

 
Pham Hung - Tuyet Nhung
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