Midfielder says Vietnam have much to learn from South Korea, Japan

By Hieu Luong   October 20, 2023 | 08:30 pm PT
National football midfielder Do Hung Dung said the loss to South Korea this week showed the quality gap between Vietnam and Asia's top programs, adding that it will be challenging to improve.
Do Hung Dung (R) and Son Heung-min during the exhibition match between South Korea and Vietnam on October 17, 2023. Photo by VnExpress

Son Heung-min (L) and Do Hung Dung during the exhibition match between South Korea and Vietnam on Oct. 17, 2023. Photo by VnExpress

"South Korean and Japanese players have qualities and instincts that are hard for us to learn, like physique, strength and pace," Dung said before a training session on Thursday after his squad's 0-6 thumping on Tuesday. "What I got was an understanding of their tactical mindset or how they exploit weaknesses from the opponent and take advantage of scoring chances."

The South Korea defeat was one in a set of friendly matches Vietnam used to prepare for the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round in November.

Vietnam, who are 69 places below South Korea in the FIFA rankings, had 37% possession and were inferior to the host in all aspects, including shots off target (7 vs 22), shots on target (1 vs 12), and corners (2 vs 11).

South Korean stars such as Son Heung-min, Kim Min-jae, Hwang Hee-chan and Lee Kang-in all bagged goals. The former Bayern Munich midfielder Jeong Woo-yeong also scored, in addition to Vietnam defender Vo Minh Trong's own goal.

Over the past four years, Dung and his teammates have encountered top Asian opponents like Japan, South Korea, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, UAE and Australia. According to the 30-year-old midfielder, he will use his experience to help his club Hanoi FC when they play the AFC Champions League.

After returning from the national team, Dung immediately began training with Hanoi FC for their third match of the AFC Champions League at Wuhan Three Towns Stadium, China on Oct. 24.

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