Asia FIFA World Cup

Indonesia Break Hanoi Curse to Keep World Cup Hopes Alive

A confident first-half performance helped Indonesia to their first win in Hanoi since 2004 with a 3-0 thrashing of hosts Vietnam at the My Dinh National Stadium on Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifying match.

Timnas Garuda debutants Thom Haye and Ragnar Oratmangoen played instrumental roles for Shin Tae-yong’s charges as their crushing win practically reduced Vietnam’s chances of qualifying to the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

While the first meeting between the two local rivals saw a stubborn exchange of blows in Jakarta that was settled by Egy Maulana Vikri’s solitary goal, the reverse fixture in Hanoi saw Indonesia flying out of the traps almost immediately, with the Timnas Garuda going 1-0 up after just nine minutes in a scene where three players of European descent played key roles.

Heerenveen man Haye (Netherlands) sent a swinging corner that was met by a powerful header from towering Indonesia defender Jay Idzes (Netherlands), with the ball going straight past Filip Nguyen (Czech Republic) in the Vietnam goal.

Two minutes later Vietnam retaliated, with Nguyen Tien Linh latching onto a sweet cross from the right, however Indonesia goalkeeper Ernando Ari – a last-minute addition following illnesses suffered by Nadeo Argawinata and Muhammad Riyandi – was alert and managed to pull off an excellent save from close-range.

Indonesia then went 2-0 up after 23 minutes, with Fortuna Sittard attacker Ragnar leaving four Vietnamese defenders eating his dust before blasting home past Filip with a well-taken low shot into the bottom far corner.

The second goal sent Vietnam into turmoil and the Golden Star Warriors toiled their way in search of an equalizer, with Tien Linh going wide and any attempt from the hosts to salvage something were thwarted by the excellent defensive partnership of Idzes and Rizky Ridho, as well as Ari, who had been playing with a dislocated shoulder throughout the match.

In the end it was Indonesia who sealed all three points, with substitute Ramadhan Sananta sending the Indonesian support into raptures with his fine finish in injury-time.

The win, coupled with Iraq’s crushing 5-0 win over the Philippines, placed Indonesia in a very favorable position coming into the last two matchdays of their second round qualifiers.

Iraq had confirmed their place in the third round thanks to their thrashing of the Philippines and they will travel to Jakarta in June 6th to take on Indonesia, meaning that the Middle Easterners had nothing else to play for other than sealing top spot of Group F.

Indonesia’s win at Vietnam, on the other hand, provided a four point cushion for second-placed Timnas Garuda over their third-placed rivals, meaning that even if Indonesia lost to Iraq and Vietnam managed to beat the Philippines, Indonesia still have second place all to themselves with their final match against the Azkals on June 11th being the decisive game that determines the Timnas Garuda‘s progression out of Group F.

As for the Vietnamese camp, the 3-0 defeat was seen as such a huge embarrassment for the Golden Star Warriors, with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) acting swiftly in terminating the contract of head coach Philip Troussier only hours after the full-time whistle had been blown.