Hanoi (VNA) – The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA) recently published an interview with captain Tran Van Vu of the Vietnamese futsal team on its website, applauding the team's performance over the past years.
FIFA said: "Vietnam’s rise in reputation to become one of Asia’s competitive sides is nothing short of meteoric. Strugglers in even regional competitions, the southeast Asians took the 2016 AFC Futsal Championship by storm by reaching the last four and booking their maiden qualification for the FIFA Futsal World Cup."
It spoke highly of the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF)'s efforts to develop this sport in the country, including inviting quality coaches from Spain.
"Keen on lifting their game to another level, Vietnam have developed a connection with world powerhouses particularly Spain. Bruno Garcia Formoso was the first Spanish manager to lend his expertise guiding the team to Colombia 2016. Next came compatriot Miguel Rodrigo, the former Peru boss who coached Vietnam from 2017-19," FIFA noted.
In its article, the federation expressed its certain respect for the development of futsal in the country.
Talking to FIFA, Vu voiced his hope to repeat their milestone success, storming into the Round of 16, at Colombia 2016 at their second FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania this year.
“Needless to say, we are in a hard group and the opponents we are facing are stronger than those of Colombia 2016,” the 31-year-old told FIFA .com. “But we are no longer newcomers and with our experience [from the last Futsal World Cup], we are hoping that we can emulate our success of 2016.”
Despite playing in only their second FIFA Futsal World Cup, Vietnam captain Tran Van Vu enters Lithuania 2021 aiming to repeat their milestone success at Colombia 2016. Five years back, an enigmatic Vietnam raised eyebrows by storming into the Round of 16 on debut. They defeated Guatemala 4-2 in the opener, a result which ultimately sent them through as one of the best third-placed sides despite losing to Paraguay (7-1) and Italy (2-0). This competition again sees them pitted against strong teams in none other than five-time winners Brazil, as well as Czech Republic and Panama, but Tran maintains his side are capable of again progressing to the next stage.
“Needless to say, we are in a hard group and the opponents we are facing are stronger than those of Colombia 2016,” the 31-year-old said. “But we are no longer newcomers and with our experience [from the last Futsal World Cup], we are hoping that we can emulate our success of 2016.”
Reflecting on their memorable triumph five years ago, Vu said: “The victory gave our fans enormous joy. We received messages of congratulations from home throughout that night and we couldn’t sleep. We were aware that Vietnam’s futsal had taken a giant step forward at international level.”
“It was truly a moment to cherish representing our country in the Futsal World Cup," he went on. "It was very emotional to line up and sing the national anthem pre-match. And of course, I felt thrilled after striking the penalty [against Guatemala].”
"Our success has made a huge impact on the game’s development in our country," he added.
The Vietnamese team surprised holders Japan on penalties in a breath-taking quarter-final clash to advance to Colombia 2016. Vu struck a brace with the two sides locked 4 – 4 after extra time, but in the ensuing penalty shootout, the Vietnamese kept their cool to run out 2 – 1 winners.
This year, Vietnam will once again compete at the FIFA Futsal World Cup . They will play Brazil on September 13, Panama on September 16, and the Czech Republic on September 19.
"Brazil are the undisputed No.1 favourites and the Czech Republic are very strong – they defeated Italy in qualification. But Panama are a team of the same level as us. Our coaching team will make suitable tactics against each side so we will have the best possible results,” the captain held.
The team have arrived in Spain to take part in an international four-side tournament which also gathers Japan, Guatemala, and host Spain.
After that, they are scheduled to join a friendly match with Spanish club Cordoba CF on September 3 before moving to Lithuania to make final preparations for the 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup final round./.
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