The Vietnamese men’s football team will be stronger from its Asian Games 2018 performance, says coach Park Hang-seo.
Park said he believed Vietnam’s journey to the competition’s top 4 was a strong foundation for the team to advance further at the continental level.
“The Vietnamese players today tried very hard, played their best and did not disappoint their fans. Unfortunately the result was not as expected,” he said at a press conference following the team’s defeat to UAE on Saturday, dashing its bronze medal hopes.
“I would like to thank the players and the fans. As the team’s head coach, I will do my best at the coming competitions,” he said.
The national team had come into their final match of the tournament on the back of a heart-breaking loss to South Korea in the semifinal on Wednesday.
But they played with determination. Despite conceding a goal following a defensive misplay in the 17th minute, they equalized 10 minutes later via a goal from the team’s captain Nguyen Van Quyet.
In the second half, the team created many chances, several more than their opponents, but were not able to convert them. After the second half ended with scores level at 1-1, the match was decided by a penalty shootout, which saw Vietnam lose 3-4. Nguyen Quang Hai and Tran Minh Vuong missed their shots while UAE successfully converted all their penalties.
“I haven’t talked to Hai and Vuong after the match. However I believe my players are mature and strong enough to overcome this difficult moment,” Park said.
Despite their failure to win a bronze medal, the Vietnamese men’s football team still made history at this year’s Asiad. The national team had never managed to get past the round of 16 in its history of participating in the competition.
“Even though the team lost today, I believe this was a good competition for Vietnamese football and a good lesson for the players,” Park said.
“I do not intend to change Asian football, but I believe Vietnamese football could rise to be among the top in the continent after the success at this Asiad. Together, we will work towards that goal.”
Park also asserted that the players in the current team would not be guaranteed a place when Vietnamese football looks to coming competitions.
“The AFF Cup at the end of this year and the Asian Cup early next year are both completely different competitions, for different age groups. The players attending this Asiad will still need to work as best as they can.
“I will be closely observing their performances at V-League to select players for the coming competitions,” Park said, referring to Vietnam’s top professional football league championship.
Speaking at the post-match press conference, UAE coach Skorza Maciej also said that Vietnam was a strong team on the same level as the competition’s finalists Japan and South Korea.
“Therefore we had to fight hard. Today UAE might have not played beautifully, but the important thing is victory,” Skorza said.
“I reaffirm that Vietnam is a top team in Asia. Today they played better, created more chances than us. I’m very happy that we won.”
Lam Thoa report on Vnexpress