Vietnamese football fans ready for U23 Championship final

(VOVWORLD) - Vietnam makes history with a win over Qatar in the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 (AFC U23) Championship semifinal on Tuesday winning a 4-3 shootout after a 2-2 draw. The whole country is countinng down to the final against Uzbekistan on Saturday. VOV’s Viet Anh reports:

“It’s great”, “My heart is beating so fast”, “I’m so happy”, “It’s difficult to describe my feelings right now. I’ve waited nearly 10 years for this moment”. That’s what fans said when the penalty shootout ended with Van Thanh netting the ball past Qatar’s goalkeeper.

Vietnamese football fans ready for U23 Championship final  - ảnh 1

Vietnam's football team celebrates their victory over Qatar in the AFC U23 Championship semifinal on January 23, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Khoa

The Vietnamese people have all been waiting for nearly 10 years for another miraculous moment like Cong Vinh’s header in the AFF Suzuki Cup in 2008 at My Dinh Stadium. And now, dreams have come true and Vietnam is in the finals of the Asia U23 Championship. Players cried and fans cried. People hugged each other, sang the national anthem, and began the second flag parade in a week through every city and town. Many fans downed red shirts with yellow stars, and many broke out drums and horns to celebrate their team.

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Vietnamese supporters burst into joy after the historic win over Qatar. (Photo: VNA/VNS)

Tung Lam of Hanoi said: “The upcoming match will surely be a tough one, but I and many other Vietnamese fans will support the footballers whatever the result. We strongly believe that U23 Vietnam will be the champion."

Another fan, Do Manh Hung burst into tears of joy and pride when Vietnam won. He said: "I want to say thank you to all the U23 Vietnam team for their effort and their fighting spirit. You’re all brave warriors in my heart and I wish you all the best in this Saturday’s final match.”

Vietnamese football fans ready for U23 Championship final  - ảnh 3


Earlier, Vietnam and Malaysia were the final teams from South East Asia to reach the quarterfinals. Vietnam beat 2013 champion Iraq in a way that no one could ever image. The same thing happened on Tuesday when another Western Asia country, Qatar, fell to the same strategy. Quang Phong, a loyal fan of the Vietnam football team, said: “Our road to the finals is one untraveled, we made it possible through our efforts, passion, team spirit, determinations and beliefs, through sweat, blood and tears. Vietnam is getting stronger through every match. However, a remarkable problem lies in our attack. So far most of our goals have been through either a star’s play (Quang Hai came to mind) or a defender’s fault (Iraq’s goalkeeper or Qatar’s backs). Cong Phuong’s consistency remained a question while Xuan Truong’s brilliant passes were majorly not put to most use. We had also never been 2 goals down in this Championship so we could not know what Park Hang-Seo’s players could and would do in such situation.”

Vietnamese football fans ready for U23 Championship final  - ảnh 4Millions of people gather at the center of Hanoi, around Hoan Kiem lake, to share their happiness (Source: Vnexpress) 

Vietnam will face Uzbekistan in the final on Saturday. Uzbekistan defeated South Korea 4-1 in an extra time match. Nguyen Doan Cuong of Hanoi said that though Vietnamese fans are aware that it’s going to be a tough game, they still have faith that Vietnam can win: “The Vietnam U23 football team’s mentality and strategies have improved tremendously. I believe that with confidence and a proper play set, we have a good chance to win the competition.” 

Vietnamese football fans ready for U23 Championship final  - ảnh 5All the main streets are packed with people waving Vietnamese flags and wearing red T-shirts with a yellow star to cheer on the national team.  (Photo: Thanh Ha/VOV)
Vietnamese football fans ready for U23 Championship final  - ảnh 6 Vietnam's Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam joins the crowd celebrating Vietnam's U23 victory. (Photo: VnExpress)

Vietnam U23’s confidence has been rising steadily since the end of the Group Stage and they have demonstrated it through every single match they have played, especially in the semi-finals. Vietnam really wants the cup, but in the eyes of the Vietnamese fans, coach Park Hang-seo and his players are already heroes, no matter whether they win the championship or not.

“Both teams are on fire with team spirit up through the roof. Both teams came to Changzhou on the 27th with one mindset: to win the game and bring the glory home. Taking all things into account, Uzbekistan should have a higher chance for victory but football is known and loved for one thing: its unpredictability. The final score could be anything but our players, or should I say our warriors, will fight to the end with all they have and we, the Vietnamese, will always be behind their backs supporting them with all our minds and be proud of them whatever the result might be,” Quang Phong said.   

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