Vietnam suffer biggest football loss in 20 years with South Korea defeat

By Staff reporters   October 17, 2023 | 11:35 pm PT
Vietnam suffer biggest football loss in 20 years with South Korea defeat
Midfielder Nguyen Dinh Bac (number 15) tries to escape two South Korea defenders in a friendly game in Suwon World Cup Stadium on October 17, 2023. Photo by Nghia Hung
The 6-0 thrashing to South Korea in the friendly match on Tuesday was Vietnam’s biggest loss in 20 years.

The scoreline has been matched on two other occasions. The first was a friendly loss to Zimbabwe at the 1997 Dunhill Cup in Malaysia. Six years later, Vietnam lost to Oman with the same score in the Asian Cup qualifiers in South Korea.

On Tuesday, also in South Korea, Vietnam, under the lead of coach Philippe Troussier lost 6-0 to the hosts at the Suwon World Cup Stadium.

This is the fourth time in history that Vietnam have shipped six goals. There was also the 6-1 defeat to China in the 2009 Asian Cup qualifiers.

Additionally, the team have had four 5-0 losses, two against the UAE, one against Albania and one against South Korea, all away games.

Vietnam's biggest loss at home was 4-0 which has happened three times, against Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and South Korea, but the last time was 26 years ago.

At Suwon World Cup Stadium, South Korea used their strongest squad, despite being 69 places above Vietnam on the FIFA ranking.

Coach Troussier told the players to use short passes to deploy attacks every time they had the ball, but the South Korea players pressed well and often won possession in Vietnam’s half.

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

Vietnam could have avoided such a defeat if defender Bui Hoang Viet Anh had not received a red card in the 61st minute. With this advantage, South Korea scored two more.

After the game, coach Troussier said Vietnam had already prepared for the defeat when they accepted the invitation to play the friendly with South Korea, and he was not surprised by the result.

"I don’t really care about winning or losing games like this. But we deserved a goal or two. We need to covert our chances better," Troussier said.

South Korea head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said it was not an easy game for the team despite winning 6-0.

"Vietnam had many scoring chances. If there is a rematch, I’m not sure that South Korea would win again. I respect Vietnam and appreciate the opponent for giving their best on the field," he said.

During the match, Vietnam had 37% possession and were inferior to South Korea in all aspects, including shots off target (7 vs 22), shots on target (1 vs 12), and corners (2 vs 11).

Vietnam ended a series of friendly matches in October with defeats in all, conceding 10 times, and failing to school a single goal. The other games were also against stronger opponents China and Uzbekistan.

In November, the team will play in the second round of the 2026 World Cup qualifiers, where they are in Group F with Iraq, the Philippines and possibly Indonesia.

Vietnam’s goal is to reach the third qualifying round for the second consecutive time.

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