‘We can win’: The Korean coach of Vietnam’s football team ahead of AFC U23 semis

During the final minutes of Vietnam’s last two matches at the AFC U23 Championship, head coach Park Hang-seo was virtually invisible. The nerves and tension surrounding the games had become too much for the South Korean coach to take. Images of Park burying his face behind the technical area are not easy to forget, especially after the Vietnamese team made history, not once, but twice. On January 17, Vietnam’s U23 national team thrilled football fans across the country by reaching the quarterfinals of the AFC U23 for the first time ever, thanks to a goalless draw against Syria. Vietnam and Malaysia are the first Southeast Asian teams to achieve the feat. Coach Park Hang-seo can’t look in the final minutes of the match between Vietnam and Syria on January 17. Photo by VnExpress/Anh Khoa Three days later, Vietnamese fans erupted when their team kept the dream alive by reaching the semifinals thanks to a dramatic victory over Iraq. Vietnam went into the game as the underdog against the former champion, but took the lead with an early goal. Iraq equalized with a successful penalty later in the first half, and a goalless second half brought the two teams to extra time, which saw each team score twice. Vietnam finally emerged victorious in the resulting penalty shootout after successfully converting all five  spot kicks. As the final penalty was being taken, coach Park had to turn away again. Talking to his team after the win against Iraq, Park said: “You deserve this. There is… [Read full story]


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