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Park Hang-seo magic continues in World Cup qualifiers

Posted November. 16, 2019 07:33,   

Updated November. 16, 2019 07:33


The head coach of Vietnam’s national football team Park Hang-seo’s magic has continued. Led by the South Korean head coach, Vietnam beat the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 1-0 in the 2022 World Cup’s second qualifying round for Group G held in Hanoi on Thursday. Clinching three successive wins, Vietnam moved to the top of the group with 10 points from three wins and one draw. In Asia’s final qualifying rounds, teams at the top of each group advance to the finals while four out of eight countries high-ranked would join the finals.

With Vietnam, ranked 97th in the FIFA Men’s rankings, defeating the 67th ranked UAE, local fans went wild with the victory. Streets in Hanoi were packed with fans playing vuvuzela and chanting the name of the head coach. Some expressed extreme excitement by waving both the national flags of Vietnam and South Korea.

The latest match was the first since Park signed a contract to extend his term for three more years with the Vietnamese Football Federation. The value of his contract was reportedly the biggest-ever in Vietnam’s football history, at around 960,000 U.S. dollars (about 1.12 billion won). The Vietnamese national football team is also expected to be given prize money by the football federation (1 billion Vietnamese dong, which is around 50 million won) and by sponsors.

Still, Park took a cautious attitude in the team’s journey toward a first World Cup finals. “We have a long way to go,” he said. “We should quickly forget tonight’s victory and prepare for the upcoming match against Thailand.”

Vietnam will compete against their regional rivals Thailand, currently in the second place in Group G with seven points, on next Tuesday.

Yun-Cheol Jeong trigger@donga.com