31st Sea Games - Vietnam 2021 Covid-19 Pandemic
Feb 01, 2022 / 22:31

Vietnam makes first-ever triumph over China

Vietnam’s comfortable win over China on the first day of the Lunar New Year captivates home fans and supporters beyond borders.

Vietnam finally earned the first points at the 2022 World Cup Asian Qualifiers – Third Round by defeating China 3-1 at My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi on February 1.

 Nguyen Tien Linh (22) and Ho Tan Tai (13) bag two scores for Vietnam on Feb 1. Photos: Ngoc Tu/ The Hanoi Times

This win seems like a big gift that the Golden Star Warriors gave their supporters at home on the first day of the lunar calendar, the meaning occasion for both Vietnam and China – two among few countries celebrating the Lunar New Year.

With the result, Vietnam become the first Southeast Asian team won at the final round of the World Cup since 2002.

“Qualifying for the World Cup from a group consisting of continental heavyweights such as Japan, Saudi Arabia and Australia was always going to be bridge too far, but failure to pick up a point in their first seven matches of the third round of Asian qualifiers -- even against the likes of Oman and China -- did cause some eyebrows to be raised,” Gabrial Tan of ESPN commented, calling it’s a “stunning victory” and “superb win” and the performance today is “maiden appearance.”

The impressive victory was a timely reminder that Vietnam could still reinvent themselves and continue to have a bright future with the South Korean at the helm, he noted.

Performing in front of about 10,000 fans at My Dinh, the Gold Star Warriors in red shirt entered the match confidently, repelling the early Chinese presses and then suddenly scored two goals in the 9th and 16th minutes through Ho Tan Tai’s close-range header and Nguyen Tien Linh increased the difference on the scoreboard.

A speculative long-range effort in the 76th minute, the newly-entered Phan Van Duc scored the home side’s third goal.

The Chinese got a consolation in injury time through efforts by Xu Xin.

 Vietnam flag at My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi, on Feb 1. 

Fulfilling promise

Sharing in the post-match speech, coach Park said “Today, on the first day of Tet – a very meaningful day, the team met China and won.”

Before the match, Park affirmed that Vietnam would win over China. His confidence had angered Chinese fans.

Vietnam’s captain Do Hung Dung said after the match that the team fulfilled the promise to give Vietnamese fans a gift on New Year’s Day. Two weeks before the match, the captain said his team would try their best to bring a good result at the match on Tet (the Lunar New Year or Vietnamese Lunar New Year).

Hung Dung, in the first time wearing the captain’s armband of Vietnam, not only shone in the role of the creative source of the midfield. He also directly assisted both of the home team’s early goals against China. Playing the second match after more than nine months off due to injury, Hung Dung seemed like he had never been away from the field.

Among Vietnamese supporters at My Dinh Stadium today, there was a special one who is Vietnam’s Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. The PM appeared to be a big fan of the Golden Star Warriors and it’s him who delivered some words of encouragement to head coach Park Hang-seo and the players after the match.

Interestingly, the PM offered the whole team lucky money.

In the post-match press conference, China’s head coach Li Xiaopeng said the loss is beggar belief, saying that his players were too stressed and lost control of the game.

Two goals conceded made China awkward. Although their possession was above 60%, they cannot create shots on target. Some made fouls and received three yellow cards.

Historic 3-1 loss quickly becomes the top trending topic on China’s Twitter-like social media platform Weibo, racking up more than 1.28 million mentions within two hours of the game ending, South China Morning Post reported.

Chinese Sina called the defeat “shameful”, saying the Vietnamese team made waves after winning 3-1 against China.

Chinese fan Lancelot Wang tweeted “Fine, this is nothing more than a ‘tiger year’ for Vietnam and a ‘cat year’ for us”, adding that “Congratulations to friends in Vietnam and hope you a delightful lunar new year.”

Sakura Seungmo from Malaysia wrote on Asian Football Confederation (AFC)’s fan page that “Wow, this result is Lunar New Year gift for Vietnam fans. Finally, you got three points in the difficult 3rd round. Pride of ASEAN.”

On both AFC’s fan page and Twitter, netizens from different countries, namely Southeast Asian nations, the US, India, South Korea, Lebanon sent congratulations to the Golden Star Warriors.

Vietnam’s next match against Oman and Japan will take place on March 24 and March 29, 2022, respectively. 

  Vietnam's Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh (C) meets head coach Park Hang-seo and players after the match. Photo: VFF
 Vietnam quick in managing performance.
 Vietnam's Hong Duy (7) and Hoang Duc (14), and China's Wu Xi.  
 Vietnam's defensive line works effectively.
 Ho Tan Tai (13) and Nguyen Tien Linh (22) authors of scores.
 Some said the win heralds lucky for the year of Tiger.
 Captain Do Hung Dung (8) creates attacks and assists goals.
 Vietnam big fans. Photo: The Bang/ Zing News