Vietnam's deputy PM takes to the streets to celebrate U23 Asian Cup semifinal victory

By Duong Tam   January 23, 2018 | 07:21 pm PT
Wearing a red t-shirt and waving the national flag, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam joined the crowds to celebrate the historic win.

Vietnam's Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam surprised football fans when he was spotted among huge crowds celebrating the national team's dramatic victory over Qatar in the semifinal of the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 (AFC U23) Championship on Tuesday night.

Like every other Vietnamese fan present around Hoan Kiem Lake in downtown Hanoi, deputy PM Dam was driving around the lake sporting a red t-shirt with two mini Vietnamese flags attached to his motorbike as the crowd cheered.

Dancing and selfies with the crowd followed as many recognized the deputy PM.

Vietnams deputy PM joined the crowd in the celebrations. Photo via Vnexpress

Vietnam's deputy PM joined the crowd in the celebrations. Photo via VnExpress

Deputy PM Dam previously emphasized that Vietnamese football should be "beautiful, honest and precise", meaning players need to be trained not only on strategy but also morality, culture, health and fitness.

Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc personally called the team to congratulate them right after the game, emphasizing how much the win means to the country.

The unprecedented win has earned the national U23 team a wave of accolades. So far, government agencies and businesses have pledged rewards of at least VND16 billion ($708,800).

The national U23 team has rewritten the history of Vietnamese football, becoming one of the first two Southeast Asian teams to qualify for the quarterfinals of the U23 Asian Cup along with Malaysia. While the latter was subsequently eliminated, the Vietnamese team has kept the dream alive by defeating Iraq in the quarterfinal and Qatar in the semifinal.

Vietnam will face Uzbekistan in the final on January 27 after the latter defeated South Korea 4-1 in extra time.

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