Coach stays focused, wants Vietnam’s football team to do likewise

By Lam Thoa   August 30, 2018 | 05:45 pm PT
Coach stays focused, wants Vietnam’s football team to do likewise
Coach Park Hang-seo reacts during an interview with the media after Vietnam's semifinal defeat to South Korea at Asiad in Indonesia. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong
Vietnam’s football coach Park Hang-seo says team should put Asiad semifinal defeat behind them and reward fans with the bronze medal.

Through their first five matches at the Asian Games 2018, Vietnam did not concede a single goal.

In their sixth game, also their first ever semifinal in the regional tournament, they conceded three to South Korea on Wednesday. Vietnam’s South Korean coach says the early goal that South Korea scored in the 7th minute waylaid his plans.

“We know South Korea has excellent players. Based on our players and tactics, I had sketched out a plan to beat South Korea. I wanted to keep a clean sheet in the first half then make some changes to defeat them in the second half. That’s why I kept Nguyen Van Quyet on the bench, but since we conceded too early, I had to put Quyet in right away,” Park said, refering to one of Vietnam's strikers.

The defeat ended Vietnam’s dream of reaching the final, and even winning the gold medal, but winning a bronze would be a stupendous achievement at the Asiad.

Park said he wants the team to focus solely on the last game on Saturday.

“It’s great to know that no one is having an injury. The players need to recover after the game. I can see they are still sad about the loss. But I told them we still have one more match, and we have to return the love and support of the fans by winning this bronze medal.”

Vietnam’s next opponents are the United Arab Emirates, who lost 0-1 to Japan in the second semifinal.

“I watched them play the semifinal on TV. My assistants have collected enough information as well as videos about them and we will analyze those further. In general, UAE has diverse styles of play, they can play with different formations with speedy wingers who can penetrate the box quite well. But I noticed that their stamina decreased quickly in the second half versus Japan,” Park said.

Both Vietnam and South Korea only had one day off after their quarterfinal matches, but the latter proved to be the stronger, scoring in the seventh, 28th and 55th minutes. Vietnam reduced the margin and restored some pride in the 70th minute with Tran Minh Vuong essaying a superb goal-scoring freekick in his very first match of the tournament.

After the game, Park was philosophical. “Even though we’ve lost, I know the players have given everything. Losing to a stronger opponent is a great experience for them.”

This is how Vietnam's fans react to the results:

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