14/02/2018 16:46 GMT+7 Email Print Like 0

Millions of hearts, one red of national flag

For the first time in Vietnam’s football history, its squad has won a silver medal from the Asian Football Confederation U23 Championship. Regarded as the underdog at the beginning of the tournament, Vietnam defeated heavyweights like Australia, Iraq and Qatar to become the first South East Asian team to reach the final of the continental event.
Despite its loss to Uzbekistan in the last minute of extra time in a snowy match in Changzhou, China on January 27, the young squad of Korean coach Park Hang Seo won the hearts of millions of Vietnamese fans for their bravery, resilience and unity throughout the regional competition.

After returning home aboard a special aircraft, the young soccer players received a passionate welcome from fans lining the streets from Noi Bai international airport to central Hanoi where an open top double decker bus carrying the “heroes” drove through.

Receiving the squad at the Government Office right after their five-hour bus parade, the Prime Minister said “Today, millions of Vietnamese hearts and the whole country are very happy to welcome our football “warriors”, who showed their resilience and unity to show pride for Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh and beautify the red and yellow colours of our national flag in the Asian sporting arena.”

The reception of the Prime Minister was followed by a spectacular celebration to honor the heroes at My Dinh stadium which was crowded with some 40,000 supporters wearing red headbands “Vietnam wins” and waving national flags.

The fervor of Vietnamese fans stunnedmany foreigners seeing a sea of people in red and yellow – the colour of the Vietnamese national flag, waving flags, blowing horns, and chanting “Vietnam the champion” along the 30km route the squad passed.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc congratulates coach Park Hang Seo. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

Prime MinisterNguyen Xuan Phuc confers the First-Class Labour Order to the U23 football squad and the
Third-Class Labour Order to goal keeper Bui Tien Dung, midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai and coach Park Hang Seo.
Photo: Thong Nhat / VNA

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam with the squad. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

The U23 squad presents the Prime Minister a souvernir ball and T-shirt. Photo: Thong Nhat/VNA

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam shares the joy with the team at the celebration in My Dinh stadium.
Photo: Thanh Giang / VNP

Flag saluting ceremony in the cerelebration to honor the U23 squad in My Dinh stadium.
Photo: Tran Thanh Giang/VNP

The Vietnam squad before the semifinal against Qatar. Photo: Xinhua /VNA


 The team of Park Hang Seo wins the silver medal in the continental. Photo: Hoang Linh/VNA

The fervor of  Vietnamese fans in the final against Uzbekistan. Photo: Hoang Linh/VNA

The final of the U23 Asian Cup between Vietnam and Uzbekistan took place in Changzhou stadium on January 27
with the latter winning 2-1. Photo: Hoang Linh/VNA

On January 27, tens of thousands of fans gathered at My Dinh national stadium to cheer the national squad
in the final against Uzbekistan.

Thousands of fans finally met their heroes after hours waiting at Noi Bai aiport on January 28. Photo: Khanh Long/VNP.

Supporters cheer coach Park Hang Seo and the coaching team. Photo: Tat Son/VNP

Students of the Transport University gather on Kim Ma street carrying the national flag, South Korea flag and ASEAN flag 
to cheer the squad. Photo: Thong Thien/VNP

Fans cheering their heroes on Vo Chi Cong street. Photo: Tran Hieu/ VNP

Fans welcome the squad in Nhat Tan bridge area.
Photo: Tran Thanh Giang/VNP.

Two elderly fans waited for the heroes at Noi Bai airort from 10 am on 28/1/2018. Photo: Tuong Thu/VNP

The young players’ miraculous feat has triggered a sense of national pride, connecting over 90 million Vietnamese nationwide and worldwide and built up a national confidence in the victory of professional football.

International media: U23 Vietnam fosters sense of national camaraderie

Nikkei Asian Review: Winning the runner-up title, Vietnamese football rose to 77th place from 112th in the rankings of the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA).

Reuters: Thousands of Vietnamese took to the streets to celebrate the victory of their under-23 football team. The progress of the young squad created an atmosphere as if Vietnam had just won the World Cup.

AFP: The under-23 team was the first Southeast Asian side to reach the final of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U23 Championship, blowing past regional heavyweights like Iraq and Qatar.

The New Paper: Millions of Vietnam fans laud their heroes despite losing the AFC Championship final to Uzbekistan ~

Story: Tuong Thu - Photos: VNP and VNA