Coach Park Hang-seo says the 1-1 draw against Japan in the final game of World Cup qualifiers on Tuesday is a success for Vietnam.
“The fact that the team ended the qualifiers with one win, one draw and eight losses was not good. But this journey was full of experience and meaning, and we always tried to be better after each game,” he said. “A draw today was a great result. I want to thank the players for their effort to get a point. There were also many Vietnamese fans here to support the players and boost their spirit.
“I have been working in Vietnam for five years and noticed that Vietnamese football is lacking many things. It doesn’t have enough facilities and infrastructure. However, when the economy is better in the future, Vietnamese football will receive more support for development,” Park said in the post-match interview.
The Vietnam head coach also said Japan’s power was not diminished by any means after this draw.
“Japan are still the number one football country in this continent. We cannot undervalue Japan with this one game. They have qualified for the last six consecutive World Cups and their infrastructure as well as football system are far more superior.”
Vietnam went into the game against Japan without many key players. But they surprised everyone by scoring first in the 20th minute, thanks to a header by Nguyen Thanh Binh.
After conceding, Japan put tremendous pressure on Vietnam’s defense and in the 54th minute, Mayo Yoshida equalized from a tap-in. In the remaining minutes, the ball mostly rolled on Vietnam’s side and Japan even netted twice but both goals were rejected by VAR and the match ended 1-1.
Park was happy with the performance of the youngsters who had to replace the key players in this game.
“Through the games like this, Vietnam’s young players will accumulate experience and improve. Thanh Binh and Bui Hoang Viet Anh are U23 players but they played really well,” Park said.
This is the first time that Vietnam has entered the final round of the World Cup qualifiers. They got four points after 10 games and became the Southeast Asian team with the best result in this round.
Park emphasized that Vietnam must make the most out of this historical milestone to create a push for further development.
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