Football: Vietnam earn first-ever U-20 World Cup ticket after beating Bahrain

By Thanh An   October 23, 2016 | 07:42 pm PT
Football: Vietnam earn first-ever U-20 World Cup ticket after beating Bahrain
Vietnam celebrates the opener of the match against Bahrain. Photo by VnExpress
The historic win has won the team a golden ticket to the World Cup next year.

When striker Tran Thanh scored the only goal in Vietnam's 1-0 win over hosts Bahrain at the AFC U-19 Championship on Sunday, he also pulled off a historic feat.

That goal has not only sent Vietnam to the semifinal of the U-19 regional tournament but also, for the very first time, to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in South Korea next year.

“This is the result of a lengthy preparation process," Vietnam’s coach Hoang Anh Tuan said. "It takes a long time to build a team with strong mentality. Fighting spirit is our strength. Everyone can see that from how our players played." 

The top four teams in the U-19 championship will qualify for the U-20 World Cup.

Vietnam have played several championships but never performed better. In the global ranking, Bahrain are at number 123 while Vietnam are ranked 136th.


Vietnam managed to block most the attacks by Bahrain on Sunday. Photo courtesy of AFC.

Bahrain controlled most of the first half, but Vietnamese goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung made it impossible for the hosts to score.

Vietnam took a more offensive stance in the second half. After multiple attacks, an instinctive chip over goalkeeper Yusif Habib by striker Tran Thanh in the 72nd minute changed the course of Vietnam's football history forever.

After the match, Vietnam will have three full days to rest before the semi-final match on Thursday, against either Japan or Tajikistan.

The AFC U-19 Championship is organized every two years by the Asian Football Confederation.

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