|Vietnamese players pose for photo call after securing their second Futsal World Cup berth on Tuesday in Dubai. Photo courtesy of VFF
HÀ NỘI — Qualifying for the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup was no surprise for Việt Nam, coach Phạm Minh Giang told media after the Asian playoff second tie on Tuesday in Dubai, the UAE.
Việt Nam drew 1-1 with Lebanon on aggregate and secured their second World Cup participation on the away goals rule.
Châu Đoàn Phát dribbled past Ahmad Kheir El Dine before putting the ball through the legs of goalkeeper Hussein Hamdani to open the scoring for Việt Nam in the 37th minute, while Ali Tneich tapped in to level about 30 seconds later in a cagey match.
"I really want to thank Vietnamese people and supporters who gave us strong backing throughout our campaign," said Giang, who is the first local head coach to guide a team to the Futsal World Cup.
"We had discussions prior to the return match. We found our mistakes and weaknesses and brought out solutions that made the difference from the first match.
"The equal quality among team members who strictly followed tactics and did a good job in a tough game were keys that helped us to resist Lebanon's physical strength.
"Phát's goal in the last minutes was planned because we knew Lebanon players would not be as strong as they were early on. They lost their concentration and we made use of that moment. His goal was a turning point that brought us an extreme advantage before we took the great final result and completed our mission.
"We deserve to have that final slot," he said.
Former national head coach Miguel Rodrigo, who worked in Việt Nam during 2017-19, congratulated the team on the achievement and gave praise to Phát and goalkeeper Hồ Văn Ý.
Speaking with zingnews.vn the Spaniard said it was a brave decision of Phát and he received a good reward. It was not a lucky goal but a high-level finish from a midfielder who always made the right decisions in attacks and a real goal hunter.
However, Rodrigo said the hero of the team was goalie Ý who he praised a lot after the first leg.
Ý, who was named one of the top 10 goalkeepers in the world in 2018 by futsalplanet.com, did not make a mistake in either match. He denied most of Lebanon's shots with fine saves and played a key role in Việt Nam's success.
Rodrigo said his former player had an outstanding performance at the top level in Asia and said it was a waste of talent if he plays in Việt Nam instead of Europe at club level.
Former national team coach Nguyễn Bảo Quân also praised the team.
"Phát's goal was unbelievable. It was from an extraordinary moment through a match that saw Lebanon be a little stronger but unlucky," said Quân.
"They were better but did not really dominate the game. They relied too much on El Dine and Karim Abou Zeid and played without contact between members. Luck stood by Việt Nam's side but no luck comes if we don't work hard."
Quân, who was skipper of the team at the World Cup in 2016 in Colombia, said Việt Nam's defence was great, especially goalkeeper Ý.
He suggested that in the coming weeks, the team should enhance their speed and skills while improving their physique because the World Cup was a really large event.
In the Lithuania finals, Việt Nam are one of five Asian representatives alongside Iran, Japan, Thailand and Uzbekistan.
They will compete against 19 other teams from September 12-October 3.
Pundit Nguyễn Quang Huy said: "Five years ago, our World Cup slot was an earthquake, marking our first step to the globe. This year's berth shows our massive development".
"However, our rivals will also grow fast so we need to prepare comprehensively to catch the pace of the world's largest competition.
"We will wait to know which group and rivals we will play. Our first practical target is passing through the group round. Then, we will plan the next step," he said.
In their first World Cup, Việt Nam advanced to the last eight and won the fair-play award. VNS