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All you need is unconditional love




MESSY: Leicester Square in London is covered in litter ahead of Sunday’s final. AFP Photo

Paul Kennedy

Now the dust has settled on the European Championships, it’s time to look back on the football played during the delayed month-long tournament.

Wait, no. Scratch that. It’s not.

It’s actually time to ask why there still remains a number of absolute knuckle draggers following England’s national team.

And yes, I know, it’s not all of them. It’s not most. It’s not half. It is just a small fraction of so-called fans who behave like idiots. But sadly they are tarnishing the reputation of all the well-meaning English supporters.

I could bring up the boos by some supporters when England players took the knee during their first game of the tournament, but I won’t. I could mention the whistles of resentment during national anthems of opposing teams, but again, I’d rather not.

I could talk about Denmark supporters, many with young children, being verbally abused by grown men wearing England shirts that barely covered their beer bellies before the semi-final, or the videos of supporters charging the gates of Wembley Stadium trying to get into the ground without tickets before the final, but again, I’ll save that for another time.

I could also write about the rivers of trash left on the streets of London after England fans had watched matches on big screens, or the footage of drunken supporters randomly throwing glass bottles into the air for reasons no one actually knows, but no. I won’t.

Instead, I’m going to write about a subject that never, ever seems to go away. Racism.

We all know the three players who missed the crucial spot-kicks in the shoot-out against Italy in the final. Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka.

Could they have done better with their penalties? Yes, for sure. Was Gareth Southgate right to choose that particular trio to try their luck from 12 yards? Maybe, maybe not. Does the fact that they are all players of colour have anything whatsoever to do with them missing? No, of course not. Not at all.

So why were they racially abused in the days that followed the defeat? I’ll tell you why, it’s because there is a minority of football supporters, all teams, who are just brainless idiots.

(If you don’t believe me, just look up the story of the England fan who placed a flare up his backside and lit it with a match. I need say no more.)

And it’s not just in England.

This week, in Việt Nam News, we carried a great story about retired Nigerian footballer Amaobi Honest Uzowuru who after a successful career in the V.League now has Vietnamese citizenship and teaches young players in HCM City. He also regularly works as a TV pundit.

One comment on the story posted on our social media pages, clearly from a fake account, was so abhorrently racist I find it difficult to read, let alone repeat. It goes without saying the comment was deleted and the author banned and reported to Facebook for vile and disgusting racism.

So why do a minority of people behave in such a way? I think that’s a question we will never get an answer to.

Maybe it’s in their genes, and I’m not talking about the 38 inch waist River Island variety. Or maybe it’s just the way of the world these days. But more likely I think those who do tweet and comment racist slurs are doing so often anonymously, like the true cowards they are. 

What the England team achieved at the Euros, getting to their first major final in 55 years, was a feat of sheer greatness. They brought the nation together, only for it to be ripped apart by a minority of numbskulls after the final.

Loving your country and your national football team is a very good thing. But that love must be unconditional, through thick and thin, good times and bad. And it should never, ever be broken just because someone looks different to the way you do. —







Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win



Vietnam national tennis team claim first Davis Cup win

Vietnam players celebrate after the victory over Pacific Oceania in Davis Cup on September 15, 2021. Photo by Vietnam Tennis Federation

Vietnam won 2-1 against Pacific Oceania on the first day of Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone matches Wednesday.

Trinh Linh Giang played first, facing Mainguy Clement. Giang let Clement win the first set, but came back stronger in the next two sets to claim victory.

In the second match, the key player of Vietnam, Ly Hoang Nam, battled Colin Sinclair, the star of Pacific Oceania. Sinclair won the first set and Nam equalized, but the Vietnamese lost in the last set.

After two matches, the score was 1-1 and the result was decided by the final match, as Nam and Le Quoc Khanh played Sinclair and Baudinett Brett in the doubles. The Vietnamese players won the first set, before Pacific Oceania equalized. In an intense third set, Nam and Khanh wrapped it up with a triumph. Overall, Vietnam won 2-1 after 7.5 hours of competition with Pacific Oceania.

This victory pushed Vietnam to the top of their group. The team will play Qatar on the second day Thursday.

Previously, Vietnam had been chosen to host group three of the Davis Cup Asia-Oceania zone. But because of the ongoing Covid-19 wave in the country, the International Tennis Federation instead appointed Jordan as host.


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Hải Phòng FC proposes plan to organise World Cup qualifiers matches at their stadium



Hải Phòng FC would like to host Việt Nam’s matches team in the final round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers campaign at Lạch Tray stadium after international media complained about the grass quality at Mỹ Đình stadium. Photo courtesy of Hải Phòng FC

HẢI PHÒNG — Following complaints about the state of the pitch at Việt Nam’s national stadium, Hải Phòng FC is offering to host the next round of World Cup qualifier games.

After the loss to Australia last week, the condition of the pitch at Mỹ Đình was heavily criticised.

Now Hải Phòng FC president Trần Văn Hoàn, has written to the People’s Committee and Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng, asking to work with the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) on the possibility of Lạch Chay stdium hosting the matches against Saudi Arabia on November 16 and China on February 1.

In the proposal, the club says they believe that organising Việt Nam’s matches on low quality grass surface such as Mỹ Đình will affect the professional quality of the game as well as the image of the country.

VFF board members said that they have not yet received the proposal from Hải Phòng. However, the possibility of the national team playing at Lạch Tray is low due to many regulations of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

Rules state the stadium must be near an international airport so that the visiting team can minimise the travel distance, be close to a five-star hotel to ensure safety and have training facilities nearby.

After the 1-0 victory against Việt Nam, Australian coach Graham Arnold complained about the grass of Mỹ Đình, saying it had detrimental effect on his team’s performance.

Australian media even compared the stadium surface to a “cow paddock”.

Mỹ Đình Stadium is a non-business unit under the management of the General Department of Physical Education and Sports. VFF has to pay a fee every time the national team plays there.

Addressing the criticism of the pitch, director of the Mỹ Đình National Sports Complex Nguyễn Trọng Hồ said: “The grass is still good as AFC has checked and assessed the pitch to be of good quality, thereby allowing the match to be held.”

Currently, Hải Phòng FC is waiting for the permission of the People’s Committee and the Department of Culture and Sports of Hải Phòng city to work with VFF. If this is approved, the representative of the club will send an official letter to VFF.

Lạch Tray stadium used to be considered one of the low-quality stadiums in Việt Nam. However, the team has just invested to improve the grass, lights and facilities.

In the 2022 World Cup third round qualification, Việt Nam are still to win a point after two defeats to Saudi Arabia and Australia and are only above the bottom team China in group B thanks to a better goal difference.

The team will return to training on September 16 to prepare for the two away matches against China and Oman in October.


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Two Vietnamese contestants vie for Miss Grand Slam 2020



Two Vietnamese contestants have been named in the list of 42 candidates for Miss Grand Slam 2020, according to Global Beauties, an online source of reliable pageant-related information and news.

Two Vietnamese contestants vie for Miss Grand Slam 2020 hinh anh 1

Miss Universe Vietnam 2019 Nguyen Tran Khanh Van. (Photo: VNA)

They are winner of Miss Universe Vietnam 2019 Nguyen Tran Khanh Van and second runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2020 Nguyen Le Ngoc Thao.

Thao entered Top 20 of the Miss Grand International 2020 held in Thailand, while Van received the highest number of votes from fans to enter the Top 21 of the Miss Universe 2020 in the US after finishing the final round.

Two Vietnamese contestants vie for Miss Grand Slam 2020 hinh anh 2

Second runner-up of Miss Vietnam 2020 Nguyen Le Ngoc Thao. (Photo courtesy of Thao)

Global Beauties will announce the Top 20 of Miss Grand Slam 2020 following assessments of an international panel of judges.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, two Grand Slam contests, or the top competitions of beauty pageants worldwide, managed to make their 2020 editions happen, which were Miss Grand International and Miss Universe.

The candidate with the best overall performance of the year will be chosen from 42 young women who advanced to the semi-finals of their respective international challenges. In this competition, it does not matter how they ranked in the actual contests, announced Global Beauties./.

Source: VNA


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