Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Đặng Văn Lâm made national headlines yesterday after he denied Jordan’s attempts in front of Việt Nam’s goal during their 2019 Asian Cup qualification in HCM City on Tuesday.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper received effusive praise from fans, experts and coaches for his performance in his 90-minute debut wearing the national jersey at the Thống Nhất Stadium.
That night, Việt Nam’s strikers wasted their chances to score a goal against Jordan, the strongest team in Group C, but Lâm, on the other side, made up a stable and believable wall to cover his area.
“It was his first match for the national first team and Lâm did a very good job. It is the reason why he is here with me at the post-match conference,” said coach Nguyễn Hữu Thắng, who rarely praises any player.
Thắng seems to find good hands to save his goal, the most important position of the team, but has not managed well for several years.
“I was really happy playing for the first time in the national team and more excited to have a good match, earning one point for Việt Nam,” Lâm said after the 0-0 game.
It was a dream come true for the Russia-Vietnamese goalie who two years, one month and five days ago wrote on his Facebook page about his thirst for being a member of the Việt Nam national football team.
The position as the first goalkeeper did not come to Lâm as a gift. It resulted from his great efforts and hard-working attitude over nearly six years.
Lâm was born in 1993 to a Vietnamese father and Russian mother.
The 1.88m youth trained for five years with Spartak Moskva before playing for four years with Dynamo Moskva’s youth team, from where he moved to Rodina FC, a second-division club in Russia.
In 2011, Lâm came to Việt Nam and was called to the national U19 team to compete in the ASEAN Championship. However, he was not successful and did not make any impression on Vietnamese football officials.
Finding no position at the Việt Nam’s V. League, Lâm returned to Russia and continued with Rodina.
The keeper came to Việt Nam for the second time when he was contracted with Hải Phòng in 2015.
It was the turning point of his career.
Lâm was only the second goalkeeper in Hải Phòng. He grabbed the few chances to play only when first goalie Đinh Xuân Việt was injured. However, he gradually proved his ability which was recognised by both club coach Trương Việt Hoàng and the national head coach Hữu Thắng.
Thắng, who watched him in three matches at the V. League, called him to the national team for the first time last June when Việt Nam took part in a four-a-side tournament in Myanmar.
Lâm said he was really excited while his mother burst into tears on hearing the news even though he was the No 3 keeper behind Trần Nguyên Mạnh and Nguyễn Tuấn Linh.
His key chance came when the Việt Nam Football Federation and coach Thắng decided to rejuvenate the team to prepare for this August Southeast Asian Games.
At 23, Lâm becomes best choice
Coaches are not wrong. Lâm is now the first goalie of his club and the national team.
On Tuesday, Lâm saved at least five threatening finishes from Jordan side.
He blocked Hamza Al-Dardour’s header in the penalty area and stopped Odai Al Saify’s close shot in the first half.
In the second half, the ‘spider-man’ saved Việt Nam from a loss in the last 10 minutes when Jordan attacked consecutively. Lâm was even a winner in a one-two situation with Monther Abu Amara in the 89th minute.
Coach Abdulla Ahmed Khalfan of Jordan said he was impressed with the Vietnamese keeper who saved his team on numerous occasions. If he had not played so outstandingly, his team would have at least two goals, the Jordanian coach said.
He confirmed that Lâm was the one who demolished his plan of taking three points home.
Taking about the young goalie, expert and former coach Nguyễn Thành Vinh said Lâm showed good form and reflexes, took accurate decisions and remain calm in all situations.
Vinh believed that Lâm would be a key member of the team in the future.
Veteran commentator Bùi Quang Huy and experienced coach Lê Thụy Hải also expressed appreciation for Lâm as one of the best players of the match.
“I really like the way he (Lâm) performed today. His big form is a plus, he played steadily and safely, and managed his area very well. He deserves to be a regular member of the national team,” Hải said.
Goalkeeper coach Võ Văn Hạnh said, "Lâm’s disadvantage was his mental state. He was nervous. However, he overcame that and could play better. His stable performance is a key point in helping the whole team compete well against Jordan.”
Lâm received congratulations from his family and friends after the game but knew this was only the beginning.
“I know Jordan are a strong team so I am focussing 100 per cent in this match. This draw will make us more confident for the next target. I will try my best to maintain my peak and contribute more to the national team,” Lâm said. — VNS