Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam U19 secured a ticket in the semi-finals of Asian Football Confederation’s (AFC) U19 Championship, thereby qualifying for FIFA U20 World Cup 2017 for the first time in history.
The team beat Bahrain 1-0 in AFC quarter-finals in Manama City on Sunday.
A crowd of 10,610 watched as the hosts took on the last remaining Southeast Asian team on a warm evening at Bahrain National Stadium and lost after a splendid goal from Trần Thành in the 72nd minute.
“Today’s result is a reward for the long preparation, not just for the match. Our victory came from good tactics, spirit and concentration,” said coach Hoàng Anh Tuấn at a press conference after the match.
“We are really proud of Việt Nam football. I want to say again that we are from the Southeast Asian region. We want to change the map of continental football. I am really glad and happy.”
Tuấn said the team had to put in every effort as “Bahrain and other teams in the tournament are stronger than us... Before the match started, I told my players they don’t need to be afraid of Bahrain.”
After 75 minutes, the team didn’t have enough strength to play and made errors. “It was in our plan and we prepared for that,” he said.
Impressed with Việt Nam’s achievement, the FIFA posted a congratulatory message on FIFA.com.
The home team, which had high hopes of playing the semis, apologised for disappointing fans. “I would like to apologise to the Bahraini fans who came for this match,” coach Abdulaziz Abdo was quoted as saying on the website the-afc.com.
“Sometimes you have a dream and you think about it a lot but in the end it doesn’t happen. We conceded a goal from a free kick in today’s match and couldn’t get back into the game and for that I would like to say I’m sorry.”
Abdo said the fans should not blame the players. “You can blame me instead. I would like to wish them luck in the future because this generation has good talent and we must try for the coming championship in 2020,” he said.
“The problem was that most of the players do not have enough stamina because most of them are not playing in the Bahraini League.”
He thanked the Bahraini Football Association for organising all the training camps and matches that were needed. “But we didn’t fulfil our dream because we made a mistake in this match and conceded a goal.”
The AFC U19 Championship is organised every two years. Now in its 39th edition, the tournament began on October 13 and will continue till October 30. A total of 16 teams are participating in the championship. Qatar are the reigning champions.
As in its previous editions, the 2016 tournament acts as qualifiers for the FIFA U20 World Cup, with the top four teams qualifying for the 2017 FIFA U20 World Cup, to be held in South Korea. — VNS