Vietnamese players celebrate their win over Japan at the AFC Futsal Championships on February 17, 2016. Photo: Ngo Nguyen
Vietnam’s men’s futsal team beat reigning champion Japan on penalties in an Asian Football Confederation Futsal Championship quarterfinal Wednesday to secure their first-ever ticket to the World Cup.
“Vietnam have never won a ticket to the World Cup finals, either in futsal or football. So we are very happy with the result,” the team’s coach Bruno Jose Garcia Formoso said after the match at the Uzbekistan National Stadium.
Japan took the lead with two goals by Nibuya Kazuhiro and Morioka Kaoru in the 7th and 13th minutes.
Van Vu reduced the margin in the 14th minute.
Five minutes into the second half, Watanabe Tomoaki scored a goal for Japan after his shot hit a Vietnam defender and eluded goalkeeper Van Huy.
Vietnam scored in the 35th minute through Danh Phat.
In the last two minutes Formoso instructed the Vietnamese goalie to join the attacks, and the pressure paid off with Van Vu leveling the scores.
In extra time –two periods of 5 minutes each – Japan again took the lead with a goal by Morioka Kaoru.
And again Vietnam leveled with a goal by Thai Huy, leading to the penalty shootout which Vietnam won 2-1.
“It was a dream come true. A beautiful dream, unbelievable!” Thai Huy said after the match.
At a press briefing after the match, Formoso said he was pleased because his players followed the strategy that had been decided for a win.
“It’s great to have a ticket to the World Cup. But the AFC Championship is not over. We want to advance to the final and we will have to play well in another difficult match against Iran in the semifinals.”
Vietnam take on Iran, who have won the event 10 times, on February 19.
The 2016 Futsal World Cup will be played in Columbia in September.