Small forward Sự shows size doesn't matter in World Cup

July 31, 2023 - 08:28
Việt Nam will have their last match against the Netherlands on August 1 and Sự expects to earn her place for the second time and show her superb performance.


Ngân Thị Vạn Sự (No 21) celebrates her goal in Việt Nam's 4-0 win over Cambodia in the 32nd SEA Games semi-finals in May. Photo

Thanh Hà

HÀ NỘI — Despite being the smallest player in the national team of Việt Nam, Ngân Thị Vạn Sự knew how to overcome her disadvantage, earning strong points to secure a slot in the main team.

She is not a regular face in the starting XI but a real threat to every defence. Her humble height could not prevent her from scoring and making her a key player of Hà Nội WFC and the future of Việt Nam's football.

Born in 2001 to a farming family in Tương Dương District of Nghệ An, the Thái ethnic minority girl made friends with the ball back when she was a toddler.

Sự caught the eyes of Hà Nội WFC's scouts from a school tournament and she began her football life aged 12.

"Homesickness was the biggest challenge for me. At that time, I turned to practise and practise harder," said Sự.

Her talents and improvement not only earned her a slot in the club's junior squad but also a berth in the national team to take part in the Asian U14 Girls Football Championship in 2015.

In the final, Sự scored the decisive goal to help Việt Nam win 2-1 over Thailand, bringing home her first international title.

Sự joined Hà Nội's first team in 2017 when she was 16. Since then, she has pocketed four national championship silvers in 2019 and 2020, 2021, 2022 and two bronzes in 2017 and 2018.

At her club, Sự was said to be a proactive and dynamic player. She could play well as an attacking midfielder whose speed helped her to break through strong defence, and as a forward whose diverse finishing skill was a threatening weapon.

Coach Ijiri Akira of the national U19 said: "Sự was young but played like a mature smart player. What makes me most satisfied was that she was constantly learning from her seniors to improve her performance as well as her weaknesses. Her biggest limitation was body form which was a challenge when competing internationally."

Despite her small size, Sự is appreciated for her energetic fitness and technique. She could manage the ball well in small spaces and was never afraid of tackles and blocks.

Ngân Thị Vạn Sự (centre) poses with her medal and teammates after Việt Nam won gold at the 32nd SEA Games in May in Cambodia. Photo

“I know my disadvantage is my small stature so I have to be strong in fitness, speed and have a tactical mind," said Sự who won an award for young player of the year in 2020.

"I am only 1.52m but play as a forward. If I am not strong, agile and can not choose the right position, then it will be difficult to score."

Her outstanding performance on national junior teams persuaded coach Mai Đức Chung to pick Sự for the senior team to play at the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers in early 2020.

In her major international debut between Việt Nam and Myanmar, she successfully headed the winning goal to push Việt Nam to the last qualifier for the first time in history.

In the 32nd SEA Games semi-finals against Cambodia, Sự also had a perfect header to open the score of the match which Việt Nam won 4-0.

Her headers proved that size was only a tiny issue. A smart mind and strong physique would take her a long way.

"Sự is a good and smart player who always plays with confidence. She has shown great performance on the field. I have in hand talented players including Vạn Sự. They are also the core of the national team in the future," said coach Chung.

Five years with the national team, Sự has won two golds and one silver from the AFF Championship and two golds from the SEA Games.

She is now one of 23 players honourably competing at the 2023 World Cup - a national historical milestone.

Ngân Thị Vạn Sự expects to earn a place in the Việt Nam squad to play against the Netherlands on August 1 in the 2023 World Cup 2023. Photo of VFF

Việt Nam will have their last match against the Netherlands on August 1 and Sự expects to earn her place for the second time and show her superb performance.

"Participating in the World Cup is an honour for every player. Vietnamese players in general are smaller than other rivals but we compete with high determination, great solidarity and big faith in a positive result," Sự told Việt Nam News.

"I believe that we can do everything if we have strong belief and confidence. My teammates and I will strictly follow tactics and do our best in the last match against the Netherlands.

"I have learnt a lot from previous matches. If I am picked to play I will try to play better and coordinate with my teammates. We will play for the pride of Việt Nam." VNS