Indonesia hoped to replicate Vietnam's Changzhou heroics at U23 Asian Cup

By Hoang An   April 19, 2024 | 04:08 pm PT
Indonesian media are counting on their team to reach the final of the 2024 AFC U23 Asian Cup like Vietnam did in Changzhou, China six years ago.

Indonesia registered their first ever victory in the AFC U23 Asian Cup on Thursday, defeating Australia 1-0 in the second round of Group A after losing their opening match to hosts Qatar. This closely resembles Vietnam's results in the 2018 tournament in Changzhou, China.

"With a start similar to that of Vietnam six years ago, can Indonesia recreate the miracle of Park Hang-seo's team and reach the final this time?" wrote Indonesian newspaper Bola Okezone.

Komang Teguh (số 4) mừng bàn trong trận Indonesia thắng Australia 1-0, trên sân Abdullah bin Khalifa, thành phố Doha, Qatar, lượt hai bảng A U23 châu Á ngày 18/4/2024. Ảnh: PSSI

Komang Teguh (number 4) celebrates after scoring in Indonesia's 1-0 victory over Australia at the U23 Asian Cup in Abdullah bin Khalifa Stadium, Doha, Qatar, April 18, 2024. Photo by PSSI

In January 2018, Vietnam lost 1-2 to South Korea in their opening match in Kunshan City, then defeated Australia 1-0 thanks to midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai’s goal. Park's team drew 0-0 with Syria in the final group stage match to advance as Group D’s runners-up.

Vietnam went on to eliminate Iraq and Qatar in the quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively, both on penalties. They lost 1-2 to Uzbekistan in the dying minutes of extra-time in an emotional final in the snow-clad Changzhou.

This time, Indonesia kicked-off their campaign with a 0-2 loss to Qatar but then defeated Australia 1-0 thanks to a goal from defender Komang Teguh. Shin Tae-yong's squad only need to avoid defeat against Jordan in the final group stage match on Sunday to advance to the quarter-finals, while a loss will send them home.

CNN Indonesia believes that the victory over Australia demonstrates the resilience of Shin’s team. "Indonesia's shortcomings are compensated for by their fighting spirit," the newspaper wrote.

"Indonesian players no longer have the crybaby mentality if unfairly treated by referees or dominated by opponents. Shin's squad even vented their anger on opponents and performed better in those situations."

Malaysia's Stadium Astro even claimed "Indonesia have taught Australia a football lesson" after the match on Thursday evening. "Australia dominated the attack in the second half, but Indonesia's defense resisted all the pressure."

Global media are understandably disappointed with Tony Vidmar's team's performance. The British Daily Mail described the side as "woeful" when losing to a "lowly" opponent, while the Olympics website considered this result a "shock," adding: "Though the Australia U-23 football team dominated possession, Indonesia kept threatening on the counter and created their fair share of dangerous opportunities."

The difference between the 2018 and 2024 tournaments is that this edition is also a qualifying event for the Paris Olympics. If Indonesia can replicate Vietnam's achievement in 2018, they will secure a direct spot to France. The top three teams in the tournament will be competing at the upcoming Summer Games, while the team losing the third-place match will face African representatives Guinea in the intercontinental play-off for the final spot.

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