Striking gold: PM lauds players, coaches and fans

By Staff reporters   December 11, 2019 | 07:41 am PT
Striking gold: PM lauds players, coaches and fans
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (L) hugs coach Park Hang-seo at the government office in Hanoi as he welcomes back the men and women's football teams from the 30th SEA Games, December 11, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Gia Chinh.
Talent, determination and fans’ support converged to help Vietnam win two football SEA Games gold medals, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc said Wednesday.

"Vietnam’s football teams were victorious in this SEA Games because we had excellent coaches, talented and determined players who aspired to win, and fans who supported the teams from every part of the country," Phuc said at a dinner reception held in Hanoi for the victorious men’s and women’s teams.

Vietnam’s U22 men’s football team beat Indonesia 3-0 Tuesday in the final, emulating their female counterparts who beat Thailand with an extra-time goal last Sunday.

Both teams showed their fighting spirit throughout the competition despite injuries and a tight match schedule with few rest days, the PM said.

Phuc, an avid football fan who’s become a familiar presence when the national team plays at home, said the Vietnamese players should continue to advance football development in the country. He mentioned in particular the 2020 AFC U-23 Championship and the World Cup qualification matches.

Hundreds of Vietnamese fans gathered at the Noi Bai International Airport Wednesday afternoon to welcome back the 242 athletes who represented their country at the 30th SEA Games hosted by the Philippines.

Fans gathered near Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi to welcome back SEA Games athletes on December 11, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

Fans gather at the Noi Bai International Airport to welcome back SEA Games athletes, December 11, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh.

The two football gold medals added to the nation’s total 288 medals at the games, including 98 golds, placing Vietnam  second on the tally board behind the Philippines.

Athletics won Vietnam the highest number of gold medals, 16, followed by wrestling (12) and swimming (11).

The 30th SEA Games ended Wednesday after almost two weeks of intense competition.

Hanoi will host the 31st SEA Games in 2021 for the second time. It made its debut in 2003.

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