Wed, 22nd May 2024 14:43 (GMT +7)

Olympic chance nearly off for Vietnam women's football team

Friday, 27/10/2023 | 09:39:14 [GMT +7] A  A

After losing 0-1 against a weaker Uzbekistan in the opening game of the 2024 Olympic Paris qualifiers, Vietnam women’s football team likely have no chance to advance.

Olympic chance nearly off for Vietnam women's football team
Vietnam (in red) couldn't beat hosts Uzbekistan at the Olympic Paris qualifiers on October 26, 2023. Photo by Uzbekistan Football Association

In group C where mighty Japan are the favorite to take the top spot, Vietnam need to beat Uzbekistan and India to keep hopes of advancing to the third qualifying round as the best second-placed team.

However, the away game at Uzbekistan’s home on Thursday was not easy for Vietnam, who are 16 places higher than their opponent on FIFA ranking. The team let Diyorakhon Khabibullaeva score in the first half and failed to find an equalizer in the remaining time.

In the previous two encounters, Vietnam beat Uzbekistan quite easily. However, in this match, the opponent showed why they made it to the semifinals of Asian Games. Under the direction of Japanese coach Midori Honda, Uzbekistan attacked right from the start, but when Vietnam began to dominate, they retreated to their side in big numbers and waited for opportunities from long passes.

The only goal of the match came from a messy situation. After Qizi Mamatkarimova's cross, Umida Zoirova clashed with Tran Thi Thu Thao and the ball bounced behind the two Vietnamese midfielders, while Khabibullaeva ran up before lifting the ball past goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh to score.

While Uzbekistan improved, the series of poor performances after the 2023 Women’s World Cup in July continued for Vietnam. In this match, coach Mai Duc Chung put Huynh Nhu and Pham Hai Yen as the two strikers while veteran midfielder Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung returned. However, the players who have played together for a long time seemed to be out of sync. Besides Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy's finish, Vietnam didn’t create any dangerous shots in the first half.

After the break, the presence of young players Nguyen Thi Thanh Nha, Nguyen Thi My Anh and Ngan Thi Van Su partly helped Vietnam improve the attacks. However, Uzbekistan stayed focused and didn’t allow Vietnamese players to use their strengths. Thanh Nha had almost no space to sprint while Huynh Nhu had no chance to finish in the box and often had to drop back to receive the ball.

The relevant chances that Vietnam created mainly came from individual efforts. Those were two free kicks by Huynh Nhu. The first was inches away from goal and the second hit the post.

After the game, coach Chung took full responsibility for this defeat.

"I’m sorry for this result. As the head coach, I took full responsibility," he said.

Vietnam still have a chance to advance only if they beat India and Japan in the next two games. However, it’s nearly impossible to win against Japan, who just thrashed Vietnam 7-0 in Asian Games last month.

Source: VnExpress