Vietnam no longer fear Thailand - Park Hang-seo

Wednesday, 2019-03-27 12:42:03
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Vietnam head coach Park Hang-seo (centre) attends a press conference after their last Group K match with Thailand in Hanoi on March 26, within the framework of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers. (Photo: NDO/Tran Hai)
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NDO – Head coach Park Hang-seo has affirmed that Vietnam no longer fear their arch rivals Thailand in the Southeast Asian region, after his Vietnam U23s side beat the Thais for the second consecutive time on March 26.

>>> Vietnam secure berth in 2020 AFC U23 finals after 4-0 win over Thailand

In the last Group K match of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers at Hanoi’s My Dinh National Stadium on Tuesday night, Vietnam U23s recorded a historic victory against Thailand, sinking coach Alexandre Gama’s troops with four unanswered goals, the largest-margin triumph for the Vietnamese side against the Thais since the Tiger Cup 1998 (3-0).

It was the first win for Park and his players against Thailand in an official tournament, but their second consecutive win across all fronts. Earlier in December 2017, the Republic of Korea tactician coached Vietnam U23s to beat Thailand U23s in the bronze-medal match at the M-150 Cup friendly tournament, as the two teams prepared for the 2018 AFC U23 Championship finals in Changzhou, China.

“I did not expect such a resounding win against Thailand. Since working as the head coach in Vietnam, I have never led the national squad to play against Thailand, but our U23 team have beaten them twice. From now on, we no longer fear Thailand. They had spent a long period of time preparing for the tournament, while Vietnam had only two weeks,” Park told reporters after their last Group K match on Tuesday.

He spared no words in his speech to applaud the fighting spirit of his players throughout the 90 minutes. “My players brought their power into full play today and fought with solidarity, effort and confidence, which made our victory. I would like to thank all the players. They have always worked towards common goals”.

Following the success with Vietnamese football over recent times, Park Hang-seo has set the goal of winning the men’s football gold medals with the Vietnam U22 team at the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in the Philippines later this year.

“Vietnam has never won the men’s football gold medal at the SEA Games arena, so I and my players will have to try harder. I would like to thank the Vietnamese people for their constant support. We hope to receive further support from fans and the Vietnam Football Federation in the future,” Park stated.

Thailand head coach Alexandre Gama speaks at the press conference. (Photo: VOV)

Speaking to the media after the heavy loss at My Dinh Stadium, Thailand head coach Alexandre Gama said he was surprised by the results of the game. The Brazilian tactician extended his congratulations to Park Hang-seo’s troops.

“I would like to congratulate Vietnam U23s on their victory. I am really surprised by the score today. I think Park has the same feeling as me, because few had thought of a 4-0 result ahead of the match”.

In his speech, Gama gave words of praise to Vietnam captain Nguyen Quang Hai, as the Hanoi FC forward effectively performed his role of leading the home side’s play style. “Quang Hai is a quality player, but Thailand also have many players of the same level. I had warned my players not to give Quang Hai space, but after the red card, we could not do it any more”.

Concluding the Group K qualification, Vietnam U23s have officially booked their place in the 2020 AFC U23 finals as the group winners, winning nine points after three wins in a row. For this feat, the team received a bonus of VND1.5 billion (US$64,500), including VND500 million from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and the Vietnam Olympic Committee, and VND1 billion from the Vietnam Football Federation.

The other participants in the final tournament include Qatar (Group A winners), Bahrain (Group B winners), Iraq (Group C winners), the UAE (Group D winners), Jordan (Group E winners), Uzbekistan (Group F winners), the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (Group G winners), the Republic of Korea (Group H winners), Japan (Group I winners), China (Group J winners), Iran (Group C runners-up), Saudi Arabia (Group D runners-up), Syria (Group E runners-up), Australia (Group H runners-up), and hosts Thailand (Group K runners-up).