FIFA Women's World Cup 2023: tough journey ends with miracle for Vietnam
2022 has been a good year for the Vietnamese female football team, as they successfully defended their championship at the 31st Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games 31) and for the first time ever secured a berth in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 that will take place in Australia and New Zealand.
Having missed the FIFA World Cup twice, the Vietnamese team led by coach Mai Duc Chung were determined to advance to the global tournament’s final round by defeating other rivals at the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup, a tournament which serves as a qualifying event for the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Tran Quoc Tuan, Chairman of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) said that preparation for the tournament had started as early as from 2017, including the training of young players and investing more in improving their living and training conditions.
Fortune also smiled on Vietnam when FIFA decided to increase the number of teams attending the World Cup 2023 from 24 to 32, which means there will be six slots for Asian teams in the finals. At that time Vietnam were the fifth strongest team in Asia.
The AFC Cup 2022 was a tough tournament for Vietnam (Photo: VNA)
In the qualifying round of the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup, Vietnam won all two games and scored 23 goals without conceding any goal.
However, the AFC Cup 2022 was a tough tournament for Vietnam as the team was drawn to the same group with strong competitors of Japan, the Republic of Korea and Myanmar.
On December 25, 2021, coach Mai Duc Chung decided the 23-member squad of the Vietnamese team leaving for Spain for training for AFC Cup 2022.
The training trip was full of difficulties due to COVID-19 impacts. In the hardest time, 20 out of the 23 players of the team tested positive to SARS-CoV-2, while AFC Asian Cup was only several days to come.
With decreased health after recovering from COVID-19, the Vietnamese players suffered defeat against the Republic of Korea and Japan, and drew Myanmar 2-2.
In the final round of AFC Asian Cup, Vietnam lost to China 1-3, and had to play play-offs with Thailand and Chinese Taipei to win a ticket to the World Cup finals.
Vietnam had a good game with Thailand and enjoyed a 2-0 victory. Unexpectedly, Thailand lost 0-3 to Chinese Taipei, which meant Vietnam had to win Taipei to secure a ticket to the World Cup.
With extraordinary efforts, the Vietnamese female team won 2-1 against Chinese Taipei, and made the dream of generations of players of Vietnam come true, marking an important milestone in the history of Vietnamese football with a ticket to the World Cup.
VFF President Tran Minh Tuan said that the journey to FIFA World Cup 2023 was tough but end with miracles. The players and the coaching team had to go through tremendous pressure both physically and mentally. Overcoming all difficulties, the whole team never ceased to do their best and finally made the proud achievement of Vietnamese women's football.
The historical ticket to the world tournament was the result of perseverance, bravery, resilience and the Vietnamese spirit of never giving up, he stated./.