[신짜오 베트남-165] By any chance, readers, do you remember the 2018 Jakarta Palembang Asian Games soccer team performance? At that time, Hwang Ui-jo, who was embroiled in the controversy over ‘recruitment of loyalty’, emerged as a ‘group of light’ that carried the team hard and took the top scorer and led Korea to the championship. Son Heung-min was also exempted from military service by winning the Asian Games.
At that time, the Korean national team met the Vietnamese team led by coach Park Hang-seo in the quarterfinals and won 3-1 and advanced to the final.
However, at that time, the fact that the Vietnamese team led by Park Hang-seo defeated Japan 1-0 in the preliminary round must have been erased from the memory of many people.
During this time when ‘Park Hang-seo’s magic’ shook the world, Vietnam took the lead with a lightning strike from left-footed wizard ‘Nguyen Quang Hai’ in the 3rd minute of the first half and did not release the lead until the game-type whistle sounded.
Vietnam won the match against Japan and finished the preliminary round with first place in the group. After beating Bahrain and Syria, they met Korea in the semifinals.
Of course, at that time, Japan was not the best team as it only consisted of young players under the age of 21 to prepare for the future. I didn’t even draw a wild card. However, after being hit by Vietnam, Japan regrouped and eventually made it to the finals, where they faced South Korea.
At that time, Korea defeated Japan 2-1 after extra-time in the final to win the championship. It means that the Japanese team was so good at that time that they bit down Korea, which boasted the best power, to the end. It means that Park Hang-seo’s leadership, which sank Japan 1-0, was tremendous.
Park Hang-seo meets Japan again after a long time. On the 11th of next month, on Pepero Day, they will meet Japan in the final qualifying round of the World Cup and face off against fate.
This game is going to be a desperate fight for both teams. Park Hang-seo’s Vietnam has lost all of the 4 matches it has played so far and is in the midst of a four-game losing streak. Japan has lost a whopping 2 out of 4 matches and is in 4th place after Oman with 2 wins, 2 losses and 6 points. At this rate, you will miss the World Cup ticket.
In the remaining matches, you need to achieve close to winning streak in order to advance to the World Cup stage as 2nd place in the group. If you finish third, you’ll go to the playoffs, but it’s a thorny road. You have to fight and win the 3rd place in the other group in the Asian final qualifier, and even if you pass this, an intercontinental playoff awaits.
The teams from Asia, South America, North Central America and Oceania will be selected for the Intercontinental Playoffs. For example, in the South American qualifier, Ecuador, Uruguay, Colombia, and Paraguay are ranked 3rd to 6th, but neither team is inferior. For example, in 2014, Jordan from Asia played an intercontinental playoff, but lost to South American powerhouse Uruguay and lost their World Cup tickets. Therefore, for the World Cup, Japan must aim for victory as well as score multiple goals against the bottom-ranked Vietnam.
However, from the perspective of director Park Hang-seo, meeting with Japan is another ‘Korea-Japan war’. There is no change in my heart just because he is leading the Vietnamese national team, who always emphasizes his love for his country.
The Japanese team manager Hajime Moriyasu is also very wary. In a recent interview, he said, “Vietnam plays strong football. Overall, Vietnamese players have a strong desire to win and their fighting spirit is outstanding. Vietnam’s playing style has many similarities to that of the Korean national team.” The Japanese coach is also conscious of Park Hang-seo, a Korean who leads Vietnam.
Just in November, the road was opened for Vietnam to enjoy a home advantage. Recently, the Vietnam Football Association said, ‘In November, 12,000 spectators, 30% of the stadium’s capacity, will be admitted to the Asian final group B match between Japan and Saudi Arabia at Mai Dinh Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam. said.
This is very welcome news for Vietnam, which has not been able to enjoy the home game premium due to the audience system so far. The Vietnamese crowd’s support on this day is expected to be unprecedentedly hot, given the nature of Vietnam, which is passionate about soccer, and in terms of finding a place to play properly after a long time.
And if coach Park Hang-seo wins a draw against Japan, or if he ever wins, he is planning a big event that will frustrate Japan’s progress to the World Cup. Korea did not make it to the round of 16 in the last World Cup, but in the last match of the qualifiers, they made history by defeating Germany 2-0.
The Japanese national football team has appeared in the World Cup finals six times in a row from 1998 to 2018. The record for six consecutive finals is the second longest for an Asian team after Korea.
Will coach Park Hang-seo be able to score the long-awaited first point in a decisive match in which Japan’s fate depends? This is the reason why I am curious about the history of the Vietnamese team from a Korean point of view.
Hanoi Dreamer (Reporter Hong Jang-won)
[ⓒ 매일경제 & mk.co.kr, 무단전재 및 재배포 금지]