Nguyễn Quang Hải's goal in the final between Việt Nam and Uzbekistan in the AFC U23 Championship 2018 was an iconic moment. – Photo vietnamnet.vn
Remember football? That thing millions of us used to watch every weekend before the coronavirus pandemic cancelled every occurrence of a ball being thrown, kicked or otherwise interfered with?
We’re all missing our footie fix but don’t despair, as we’ve put together a list of some of the most memorable matches in the national team’s modern history to help tide you over until the beautiful game returns.
1998 Tiger Cup semi-final: Việt Nam 3-0 Thailand (September 3 1998)
This match will always be one of Việt Nam’s most memorable victories over Thailand. At home in Hang Day Stadium in Ha Noi, hosting Southeast Asia’s biggest football tournament and hammering your biggest rivals 3-0 to go to the final? You couldn’t beat it with a big stick.
2004 AFC Asian Cup qualification: Việt Nam 1-0 South Korea (October 19, 2003)
Việt Nam’s golden boy at the time Phạm Văn Quyến scored a historic goal to help his country notch their first-ever win over one of Asia’s top sides in an official competition.
2008 AFF Cup final – second leg: Việt Nam 1-1 Thailand (3-2 on aggregate) (December 28, 2008)
No one will ever forget Lê Công Vinh’s historic equaliser in the final minute that secured Việt Nam’s first regional triumph. After a stunning 2-1 win in the first leg, a draw in the second match was enough to secure the victory. But the road to glory is never easy, especially when you face Thailand.
AFC U23 Championship 2018 semi-final Qatar 2-2 Việt Nam (3-4 in the penalty shootout) (January 23, 2018)
A place in the semi-final was a dream come true for many Vietnamese football fans. But the young ‘golden warriors’ went one better with a stunning win against Qatar. After falling behind twice, Nguyen Quang Hải’s double and goalkeeper Bùi Tiến Dũng’s excellent performance in the penalty shootout brought Việt Nam to their first Asian final.
AFC U23 Championship 2018 final: Việt Nam 1-2 Uzbekistan (January 27, 2018)
While Việt Nam may have fallen just short in China, no one who watched this match will ever forget the pride they felt watching this team give it everything they had. Quang Hải’s incredible free-kick will also live long in the memory as an iconic symbol of an incredible,gutsy team. Had any of them even seen snow before?
ASIAD 2018 quarter-final: Olympic Việt Nam 1-0 Olympic Syria (August 27, 2018)
The magic continued throughout 2018. After three wins in the group stage, including a defeat of Japan, Olympic Việt Nam maintained excellent form by beating Bahrain in the first knock-out match and then Syria in the quarter-final thanks to Nguyen Văn Toàn’s goal to reach the country’s first ASIAD semi-final.
2018 AFF Cup final: Việt Nam 3-2 Malaysia (both legs) (December 11 and 15, 2018)
There was no better way to finish a wonderful year by lifting the AFF Cup for the second time after 10 years of waiting, marking the first trophy for coach Park Hang-seo. Under the South Korean’s, Vietnamese football has come on leaps and bounds and the future is bright.
AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 round of 16: Việt Nam 1-1 Jordan (4-2 on penalty shootout) (January 20, 2019)
Coach Park once again used his magic to help Việt Nam defeat a very strong Jordan side to reach the last eight for the first time. Nguyễn Công Phượng’s equaliser sent Vietnam to the penalty shootout where the side held their nerve to reach the quarters where they narrowly lost out to Japan.
Southeast Asian Games group stage: U22 Việt Nam 2-2 U22 Thailand (December 5, 2019)
On the journey to the SEA Games gold medal, the U22 men football team almost suffered a disaster after falling two goals behind early against Thailand. Fortunately, Nguyen Tiến Linh’s double sealed the draw to help U22 Việt Nam go through the next round and eliminated Thailand.
Southeast Asian Games Games final: U22 Việt Nam 3-0 U22 Indonesia (December 10, 2019)
Coach Park Hang-seo made history by guiding Việt Nam to a SEA Games men’s football gold medal after years of waiting, making dreams come true for millions of supporters.