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Jun 07, 2024 / 08:56

Vietnam beat the Philippines to keep World Cup 2026 dream alive

The victory rekindled Vietnam's dream of qualifying for the World Cup in two years' time.

Vietnam battled to a 3-2 win over the Philippines in their fifth match of the Asian qualifying campaign for the 2026 World Cup.

 Vietnamese players celebrate their win over the Philippines on June 6. Photo: Ngoc Tu/The Hanoi Times

Both teams came into the match with a lot of excitement. For Vietnam, it was their first official match since head coach Kim Sang-sik took the helm of the national team in early May.

The Vietnamese controlled the game and had some good offensive plays.
However, their efforts in the final third were poor.

It was the Philippines that posed the real threat to Vietnam. Their finishes were inches from the post.

Both teams finished the first half scoreless. In the second half, Vietnam was still the dominant team.

The surprise came in the 62nd minute when striker Patrick Reichelt scored on a counterattack to open the scoring for the Philippines.

Three minutes later, striker Nguyen Tien Linh equalized for Vietnam. In the 77th minute, Linh doubled his tally with a fine header to give his team a one-goal advantage.

The Philippine team did not give up. Midfielder Kevin Ingreso scored the equalizer in the 88th minute.

In the fifth minute of extra time, substitute striker Nguyen Tuan Hai scored the winning goal for Vietnam.

The win puts Vietnam in third place in Group F with six points. Indonesia is currently in second place with seven points, while Iraq has 15 points to qualify for the third round.

Vietnam will have a chance to qualify for the third round if they avoid a defeat against Iraq in their last match and Indonesia can't beat the Philippines.

The final group match is scheduled for June 11.

Positive start  

It was the first win for Vietnam and head coach Kim Sang-sik after losing seven matches in a row under former coach Philippe Troussier.

Speaking at the post-match press conference, coach Kim said that football is always unpredictable and last night's game proved that.

"We won the game because we have outstanding players like Tien Linh and Tuan Hai who do their job well and on time," he said.

"We only had five days of training. It was a short time, but we played our hearts out. I think that was the key to our win tonight.

According to soccer expert Phan Anh Tu, head coach Kim's squad for the match was made up of players who knew each other well.

"Kim wanted to play slowly at first and keep control of the ball," said Tu, who credited Kim's tactics with the players having only five days of training and competing in the V-League.

"They were not in good shape to play a fast, transition style of football as expected."