Vietnamese midfielder Nguyễn Văn Hiếu (left) is mentioned as one of the five best young players at FIFA Futsal World Cup. Photo fifa.com
HÀ NỘI Vietnamese midfielder Nguyễn Văn Hiếu has been named among the best five young players at the Futsal World Cup in Lithuania.
He has helped Việt Nam advance to the last-eight round for the second World Cup in a row.
Hiếu scored the decisive goal that saw Việt Nam beat the stronger Panama in the second Group D match on September 16.
He also played well in the team's third game which ended 1-1 against powerhouse Czech Republic three days later.
"Ready for an astonishing fact? When the last FIFA Futsal World Cup took place, Văn Hiếu had never even played the sport. He took it up in 2018, was a Việt Nam international just 12 months later and is now dazzling at Lithuania 2021," Football's governing body FIFA wrote in their description of Hiếu.
"And the winger who looks like a schoolboy had old pros feeling their age on Matchday 5. Hiếu thwarted a Panama attack with an excellent tackle inside his own half, whizzed the length of the court, shrugged off two challenges, rounded the goalkeeper, and cut the ball from an acute angle."
The world agency also quoted coach Phạm Minh Giang as saying: “Hiếu is the talent of Vietnamese futsal. His playing philosophy is very up-to-date. He is a very promising player.”
Other players selected were midfielder Yousef Jouad of Morocco, forward Leonardo Caetano Silva aka Leozinho of Brazil, forward Khusniddin Nishonov of Uzbekistan, and defender Zicky Te from Portugal.
An inborn futsal talent
Among 16 members of Việt Nam team, Hiếu, 23, is not the youngest but the one who came to futsal recently and has only three-year experience.
Born in 1998, Hiếu purchased an online business instead of going to study in a college.
Earning enough from his work, Hiếu had time to visit football fields and took part in street football matches.
Despite his self-trained skills, Hiếu became well-known in Đà Nẵng before signing a contract with futsal team Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng FC in 2018.
“Hoàng Thư Đà Nẵng was rejuvenating at that time and had a lack of players. My friend was playing for them and asked me to have a trial," said Hiếu.
"Partly out of my curiosity and passion, I agreed and surprisingly I was recruited. I just have several days practicing with the club before taking part in the National Cup."
But it was enough for him to shine and win his first individual title.
He played a key role in pushing his club to the second position in the National Cup before receiving the title of top scorer of the national championship with 14 goals in 2018.
One year later, the agile 1.65m player was then called to the national team as coach Giang said he was quick, smart, and finished really well.
On his birthday on September 10, Giang continued to praise the player, telling him: "You have great potent. I hope you will keep trying, improving and working harder to become a key player for Việt Nam".
Despite many goals, the goal against Panama was one of the most special of his career.
"I am happy, really happy. It is a wonderful feeling as it is the first time I take part in World Cup," Hiếu said about his goal.
FIFA described it as an unbelievable solo effort that claimed a Futsal WC victory for Việt Nam and made it one of four nominations for best goals of the group round.
His solo strike was also a topic to talk about among coaches, pundits, and his teammates.
"I found him when he started playing for Đà Nẵng," said coach Miguel Rodrigo who ran the Việt Nam national team from 2017 to 2019.
"He is skilled and has a great tactical mind. I told my assistants to bring him to the national team. Now, I am really happy because he does a good job and scored for Việt Nam."
The Spanish expert also compared Hiếu with Italian legend Adriano Foglia who was voted best player of the 2003 tournament.
"They shared some of the same points, small in size but with great technique and the same playing style. My assistant call Hiếu 'Đà Nẵng's Foglia'," he said.
Senior pivot Nguyễn Minh Trí also appreciated his young teammate saying Hiếu is strong and fast and really skillful. His goal to beat Panama showed everything of his ability, he said.
Former national goalkeeper Trần Trung Kiên added: "I really like to watch him. He impressed me in the national championships. It has been a long time that I have seen a player who could play with both feet. What he still needs to improve is experience. I believe that the more he plays, the better he will become."
Meanwhile former national champion Phạm Thành Đạt said: "Hiếu is rising star of Việt Nam, who can make a break by himself and create threatening chances."
"He will go far and will be the country's futsal future," Đạt added. VNS