Vietnam, a country with high hopes to qualify for a World Cup by Anderson Zavala

Vietnam, a country with high hopes to qualify for a World Cup by Anderson Zavala

Vietnam is a country that is making small steps in international football; however, those steps are making progress. And little by little Vietnamese football is becoming prominent, especially at the youth level.

Vietnam has not played in a World Cup yet, their best attempt was the last qualifier when they got to the final stage of the qualifiers for Qatar 2022, something they have done for the first time in history.

The best results in international football have been two first places of AFF Cup, which is a regional tournament, with the most recent title won in 2018.

It can be true that their success with the national team is not that prominent, but we have to look at the youth level where Vietnam has achieved titles at different levels, such as the following:

– AFC U-23 Asian Cup (second place in 2018)

– Southeast Asian Games (first place in 2019 and 2021)

– AFF U-23 Championship (first place in 2022)

They also reached the semi-finals at the AFC U-20 Asian Cup in 2016 and the group stage of the FIFA U-20 World Cup in 2017.

In the last qualifiers for the FIFA 2023 U-20 World Cup, Vietnam did not qualify, but we as followers and as spectators, we saw a really competitive team with dynamism, spirit, and passion. Characteristics of a truly Asian team.

Vietnam U-20 won two matches (1-0 over Australia and 2-1 over Qatar) and lost one (1- 3 against Iran. That meant the early elimination of Vietnam in the group stage, it felt unfair, the team looked solid in the first two matches.

The scorers in those qualifiers were Nguyễn Quốc Việt (19, striker, Hoang Anh Gia Lai), Nguyễn Văn Trường (19, attacking midfielder, Hanoi), and Khuất Văn Khang (19, attacking midfielder, Viettel).

Something that I admire about Vietnamese youth systems is the continuity of these talented young players in the senior team and in the local league. Most clubs in the V. League 1 field young teams and at least in the squads we see some teams with an average of 24.9 like Topenland Binh Dinh; and the youngest squad is Hoang Anh Gia Lai with an average of 24.2, this is something fundamental for football.

Maybe the unique Vietnamese footballer in a European league is Nguyễn Quang Hải (Pau, Ligue 2); nonetheless, talent is present in the V. League 1, and they will get to European leagues in the future, hopefully.

The National Team has included some young players in the recent call-ups such as: Nguyễn Văn Toản (GK, 23, Haiphong FC), Đoàn Văn Hậu (DF, 23, Hanoi Police), Nguyễn Thanh Bình (DF, 22, Viettel).

We expect continuity for the talented footballers at the youth level, the process must continue. The AFC is a tough confederation with so much quality, it provides the level needed for the development of youngsters.

Good luck, Golden Star Warriors! To make history!

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