The Hanoitimes - Playing bravely as they always do, the Vietnamese managed to eke out an important result.
Salvaging something out of their clashes against Asia's three-time champions Iran and 2007 champions Iraq was always a tough ask for Park Hang-seo’s boys, but Vietnam have progressed to the round of 16 of the 2019 Asian Cup.
The Golden Star Warriors or Golden Dragons are among qualifiers for the knockout stage versus Jordan on Sunday [January 20] after making an impressive 2-0 victory over Yemen and confirming themselves as the finalists for the round of 16 line-up by the fair-play index.
Quang Hai (19) and his playmates celebrate a goal. Photo: Foxsports
The team overcame the group stage in a very nervous way and its fate was decided in the last minute, proving its strong spirit in the tournament which years ago it didn’t dare to dream of being shortlisted the quadrennial international men’s football championship of Asia.
In the group stage, both Vietnam and Yemen competed for a chance of getting through to the knockout stage as one of the four best third-placed teams and a draw would probably see both teams eliminated.
In the match, the warriors’ courageous spirit was proved and Vietnam earned a convincing win before Yemen with a beautifully struck free kick by Nguyen Quang Hai (38’) gave them the lead and with Que Ngoc Hai’s penalty sealing the win (64’).
Quang Hai produced a moment of magic in the 38th minute with a spectacular freekick from around 25 yards out that nestled into the top corner, giving the Yemen goalkeeper no chance. FOX Sports called “Nguyen Quang Hai channels his inner Lionel Messi with a beautiful freekick goal”.
Playing bravely as they always do, the Vietnamese managed to eke out an important result. Facing Jordan in the Round of 16 on Sunday, Vietnam will now be hoping that they can pull off another surprise and make it to the quarterfinals of the continental championship.
At the news conference ahead of the knockout encounter at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai, Vietnam's head coach Park Hang-seo said that “[Sunday] match is not going to be easy, it will be tough but we will have to maximize our strengths to win”. Meanwhile, Jordan head coach Vital Borkelmans said Vietnam are a very strong team.
Vietnam head coach Par Hang-seo. Photo: Foxsports
Vietnam and Jordan clashed during the qualification matches for the Asian Cup 2019 when the two teams settled for 1-1 and 0-0 draws on their way to the 2019 Asian Cup.