Asia FIFA World Cup

Vietnam Keep WC Hopes Alive with Slender Win over Philippines

Vietnam’s hopes in qualifying into the next round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers as well as the 2027 AFC Asian Cup remain alive as they squeaked past the Philippines 3-2 in Thursday’s match at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

Thursday’s match against regional rivals Philippines was the competitive debut of Vietnam’s new head coach Kim Sang-sik, with the former Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors boss taking over from the sacked Phillipe Troussier back in May.

Vietnam exerted pressure from the outset and nearly opened the scoring in the 10th minute when Nguyen Hoang Duc’s through ball found Do Hung Dung, whose perfectly timed pass to Nguyen Tien Linh was intercepted by Jesper Nyholm.

The Philippines, still seeking their first victory in the qualifiers, had a golden opportunity in the 20th minute. Do Hung Dung lost possession in midfield, enabling Zico Bailey to navigate through the defense, but his shot narrowly missed the target after bypassing the advancing Dang Van Lam.

Vietnam appeared dangerous with every forward move, with Nguyen Quang Hai frequently linking up with Tien Linh. One notable moment came in the 28th minute when Quang Hai’s free-kick sailed just over the bar.

As the first half drew to a close, the home team nearly suffered a setback when Adrian Ugelvik’s swift run down the right flank resulted in a cross that found Patrick Reichelt, who missed from close range.

Vietnam maintained their attacking momentum in the second half, but it was the Philippines who struck first in spectacular fashion. In the 62nd minute, Reichelt connected with Alex Monis’ long pass, eluded his defender, and slipped the ball past Van Lam.

Vietnam responded swiftly, equalizing three minutes later. Phan Tuan Tai surged into the box and set up Tien Linh for a simple finish from close range.

The tactical adjustments made by Kim Sang-Sik bore fruit in the second half as both Tuan Tai and Tien Linh once again combined to put Vietnam ahead, with the latter scoring a powerful header past goalkeeper Neil Etheridge in the 76th minute.

However, a momentary lapse with just two minutes remaining allowed the Philippines to level the match. Nyholm’s redirected header found Kevin Ingreso, who volleyed into the roof of the net.

Vietnam’s persistence paid off in stoppage time. Etheridge could not hold on to Nguyen Tuan Anh’s long-range shot, and Pham Tuan Hai capitalized on the rebound to secure the win.