Vietnam’s inspiring run in the AFC Asian Cup has come to an end with a hard-fought but ultimately unsuccessful encounter with Japan. The Golden Stars can look back on an incredibly successful period over the past few months, and there will be no shame whatsoever in bowing out to one of the continent’s strongest sides. Here is Football Tribe Vietnam writer Tran Tien’s take on this match.
Superb Dang Van Lam
Dang Van Lam continued his fine form with some astonishing saves in this match. The moment he blocked an attempt from Takumi Minamino at the end of first half, the Russian born goalkeeper proved that he can play at highest level of Asian football.
VAR Makes a Splash on Asian Cup Debut
The Video Assistant Referee (VAR) made its debut in the Asian Cup amid controversial circumstances in yesterday’s match. Firstly, it was used to rule out Maya Yoshida’s goal for handball in the first half. It would make another decisive impact in the second as well, as the referee consulted his video screen to award a penalty for Japan, which led to their only goal of the match.
Vietnam Can Challenge at a High Level
Vietnam gave Japan some real scares in Dubai. Despite losing out in terms of ball possession, the Golden Stars were able to make a number of dangerous chances on the counter-attack with their persistence and fearlessness. They proved that they can challenge at the very high level with no nervousness and hesitation, and Vietnamese fans can be proud with their performance.
Japan Showed Their Class
Despite the fact that Japan had some less than impressive moments during the game, the Samurai blue ultimately derseved the victory. The side kept their heads as the pressure from fans and the media back home was mounting, and recovered from the early VAR setback to see the game through. Japan showed their experience and class by being clinical in the game’s deciding moments.
Bright Future for Vietnam
After Vietnam’s Asian Cup campaign, the team has improved significantly with a superb performance. They showed that they can face up to some of the strongest teams on the continent. If they can maintain their current level of performances, a place in the final round of World Cup qualification may no longer be merely a dream.