Vietnam has qualified for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-19 Championship after beating Australia 5-1 in the final group stage match of Group F in Malaysia on Monday.
Before the match, the Vietnamese players stood in silent homage to the late General Vo Nguyen Giap, who passed away on Saturday.
Then they Giap'ed Australia in a beating reminiscent of Dien Bien Phu.
The proof was in pudding: five goals for Vietnam without any bookings and only one goal for Australia with five bookings.
The Socceroos were in better shape than the Vietnamese and they played fair in the beginning. But they began to tackle Vietnamese players more and more as the Vietnamese players scored goals.
With careful preparations for the contest, the Vietnamese players, most of whom are from the HAGL-Arsenal JMG football training academy, showed how tough and confident they were against the Australian players, many of whom playi in Britain, Italy and Spain.
Striker Cong Phuong scored a brace while Thanh Tung, Van Toan and Van Son each scored a goal in Vietnam’s great victory.
The win against the Socceroos, who have played in several World Cup contests, boosts Vietnam's standing on the international sports stage.
The win seemed to prove that Doan Nguyen Duc’s investment in the HAGL-Arsenal JMG has paid off in the form of a new generation of powerful players.
During the U19 Southeast Asian championship in Indonesia two weeks earlier and the AFC U19 Qualifiers in Malaysia, Duc assigned HAGL football team manager Nguyen Tan Anh to take care of the players.
Nutifood, which signed a 4-year sponsorship contract worth VND20 billion (USD948,000) with HAGL-Arsenal JMG on September 30, also made a great contribution by sending six chefs with the team to cook for the players during the competition in Malaysia.
When hearing the news of the win, Steve Morow, technical manager of the English Premier League club Arsenal, called HAGL team manager Nguyen Tan Anh to congratulate the team on the win and praise the young players for their efforts.
HAGL boss Doan Nguyen Duc said, “I have countless great emotions now. I’m so happy. My boys made me very happy by advancing to the final match of the U19 Southeast Asian Championship [in Indonesia] without a loss.
“They made me even much happier at the AFC event [in Malaysia]. Their wins so far can’t be described as lucky wins. They are strong proof of our good long-term investments and careful nurture; and the 'trees' are now flowering and producing good fruit.”
French Coach Guillaume Graechen said, “This is the first time I have coached a national team and have been successful. I’m very happy and proud of my players. They knew how to overcome pressures. Now, I can say I believe these players will become very good players in the future."
In the top place with 9 points, 16 goals and only two goals conceded in the Group F qualifiers earns Vietnam a seed at the AFC U19 Championship 2014 in Myanmar.
In their earlier matches of the AFC U19 Championship Qualifiers in Malaysia, Vietnam beat Taiwan 6-1 and Hong Kong 5-1 while Australia hammered Hong Kong 7-0 and Taiwan 3-0.