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Some timely reminders from Viettel

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Viettel’s Nguyễn Hoàng Đức (left), Pedro Paulo (middle) and Geovane Magno celebrate their win against Topenland Binh Dinh. Photo anninhthudo.vn

Peter Cowan

Unpredictability is one of the best things about football, and it took less than a week for a few of my bold V.League 1 predictions to leave egg on my face.

The first match day of the season saw a postponement as Thanh Hóa were unable to travel to face Hà Nội FC due to COVID-19 cases in their squad, leaving the possibility of a full league season being completed far from certain.

We’re not here to talk about COVID-19 though, instead it’s another prognostication that has me feeling sheepish.

Topenland Bình Định and Viettel FC had quite contrasting pre-seasons.

The former spent liberally and brought in star players aplenty, while Viettel lost two key starters in Quế Ngọc Hải and Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng to Sông Lam Nghệ An.

Viettel are still defending champions, lest we forget, but I had Bình Định as firm favourites to defeat them at home on Friday night on their way to mounting a title challenge.

While one game in is too early to write Bình Định off, I think we saw enough evidence in their 2-0 win to remind us that Viettel will be tough to unseat.

Although the home side had their chances and looked more threatening early on, Viettel relied on what took them to the title in 2020 to secure all three points.

Even without former Việt Nam captain Hải, their defence was dogged enough to keep Bình Định at bay, and at the other end they relied on some individual magic to nick a couple of goals.

The 70th minute opener from the head of captain Bùi Tiến Dũng came from Nguyễn Hoàng Đức’s delightful free-kick delivery. We all know how good Đức is (too good to still be playing here) but it was a vivid reminder.

The second goal came on the counter in the final seconds of added time as Brazilian forward Geovane Magno clipped the ball over an onrushing defender before chipping the goalkeeper.

It was a beautiful goal and again served as a timely reminder: Viettel have a potent forward partnership.

While Magno was deemed surplus to requirements at Hà Nội FC, he’s still one of the best foreigners in the league for my money and his partnership with fellow Brazilian Pedro Paulo is proven to be a deadly one at this level.

It wasn’t that long ago that Paulo and Magno were wreaking havoc for Sài Gòn FC as they surged to a shock third-place finish in 2020.

Reuniting a partnership that catapulted an otherwise ordinary team into title contention just two years ago may turn out to be a masterstroke for Viettel.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/sports/1160157/some-timely-reminders-from-viettel.html

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Dunedin delight as Dutch put seven past Vietnam to top group

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DUNEDIN, New Zealand — Esmee Brugts netted two long-range stunners as the Netherlands rediscovered their scoring touch in a crushing 7-0 win over Vietnam on Tuesday, reaching the Women’s World Cup knockouts in style and locking up top spot in Group E.

The Dutch had only scored once in each of their two previous games but, knowing goal difference could decide the group winners, were 4-0 up inside 25 minutes, with Brugts’ curled effort the pick of the bunch.

Her second goal in the 57th minute was a carbon copy of the first and put the Netherlands 6-0 ahead before Jill Roord also bagged her second of the night to wrap up the emphatic win, the biggest of the tournament so far.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Vietnam v Netherlands - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand - August 1, 2023 Netherlands' Esmee Brugts celebrates scoring their third goal. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 – Group E – Vietnam v Netherlands – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand – August 1, 2023 Netherlands’ Esmee Brugts celebrates scoring their third goal. Photo: Reuters

“I’ll surely be looking back with a happy feeling,” Brugts said. “I scored two but the rest of the team also played well.

“The confidence level is the same as before the game. We wanted to be ranked first in the group. We managed to do so, and that’s nice.”

The Netherlands were expected to finish behind the United States in the group but the defending champions were held to a goalless draw by Portugal in Auckland and ended in second place in Group E, two points off the summit.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Vietnam v Netherlands - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand - August 1, 2023 Netherlands' Jill Roord celebrates scoring their seventh goal. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 – Group E – Vietnam v Netherlands – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand – August 1, 2023 Netherlands’ Jill Roord celebrates scoring their seventh goal. Photo: Reuters

The 2019 runners-up will travel to Sydney for their last 16 tie on Sunday and are likely to face Italy, who sit in second place behind Sweden in Group G.

Although they were missing all-time top scorer Vivianne Miedema due to injury, the Dutch had five different goalscorers against Vietnam, who had already been eliminated after losing their first two games.

Lieke Martens, Katja Snoeijs, Roord and Danielle van de Donk also scored in the first half and the Netherlands had a staggering 42 attempts at goal overall, including 17 on target. By contrast, Vietnam managed five shots but none on target.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Vietnam v Netherlands - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand - August 1, 2023 Netherlands' Esmee Brugts celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 – Group E – Vietnam v Netherlands – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand – August 1, 2023 Netherlands’ Esmee Brugts celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates. Photo: Reuters

Dominique Janssen launched a wonderful ball from defence into Vietnam’s penalty area, where Martens lobbed goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh to put the Netherlands ahead after eight minutes for her 60th international goal.

Snoeijs slotted in the second three minutes later after being set up by Van de Donk, and Brugts soon added another from distance, her strike from outside the box nestling into the top right corner.

Roord, who had twice fired wide twice, finally got on the scoresheet after volleying in Janssen’s cross. Roord drew a fantastic save from Kim Thanh just before halftime, but Van de Donk was on hand to tap in the rebound.

Soccer Football - FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 - Group E - Vietnam v Netherlands - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand - August 1, 2023 Netherlands' Jill Roord shoots at goal. Photo: Reuters

Soccer Football – FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 – Group E – Vietnam v Netherlands – Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin, New Zealand – August 1, 2023 Netherlands’ Jill Roord shoots at goal. Photo: Reuters

After Brugts’ superb sixth with another fierce strike, Roord, who had hit the crossbar, headed in the seventh with seven minutes remaining.

“I was afraid that the gap would be even bigger,” Vietnam coach Mai Duc Chung said. “We have tried our best but it is clear that we cannot close the gap between us and the Netherlands.

“We have conceded 12 goals in our three games, so our level is low even compared to other Asian teams. But I think our efforts have been great. In this journey, I am satisfied with the spirit of the team.”

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20230801/dunedin-delight-as-dutch-put-seven-past-vietnam-to-top-group/74738.html

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Vietnam chess ace Le Quang Liem makes world’s top 15 for first time

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Vietnamese grandmaster Le Quang Liem ascended to the 15th position in the August rankings released by the International Chess Federation (FIDE) on Tuesday.

Liem made a significant leap of six positions, advancing from 21st to 15th in the world rankings, boasting an impressive Elo rating of 2,740. 

This achievement marks the highest ranking he has ever attained in his career. 

Moreover, in the history of Vietnamese chess, no player has ever reached such a distinguished position.

Liem secured an additional 11.8 Elo points during his outstanding defense of the Grandmaster Triathlon championship at the Biel Chess Festival 2023 held in Switzerland from July 15 to 30, despite tough competition from talented players like Yu Yangyi, David Navara, Arjun Erigaisi, Vincent Keymer, and others.

In the classical time control event of the tournament, he performed brilliantly, securing four victories, two draws, and experiencing only one loss. 

Notably, Liem’s triumph in his match against the prominent Chinese grandmaster and former top 10 world-ranked player, Yu Yangyi, earned the Vietnamese chess ace an impressive 5.1 Elo points.

Liem received the joyful news of his global promotion just before heading into intense chess battles against some of the world’s best players at the 2023 FIDE World Cup in Baku, Azerbaijan, which began on Sunday and ends on August 24.

In this championship, Liem holds the 15th seed position and received a first-round bye. 

For the second round, he is set to compete against Serbian player Ivan Ivanisevic.

In the FIDE women’s rankings, Pham Le Thao Nguyen is currently ranked 78th globally with an Elo rating of 2,370, making her the number-1 female chess player in Vietnam. 

The second position is occupied by Vo Thi Kim Phung, with an Elo rating of 2,351, which placed her at 95th in the world.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20230801/vietnam-chess-ace-le-quang-liem-makes-worlds-top-15-for-first-time/74730.html

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Portugese football club attempts to sign another Vietnamese female player

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Vietnamese midfielder Tran Thi Thuy Trang has announced that she has been invited by Lank FC Vilaverdense to join the Portuguese football club.

Trang is the latest player from the Vietnamese women’s national football team to have received an invitation.

Her national teammate, Huynh Nhu, was recruited by Lank FC Vilaverdense in August 2022 to play in Portugal’s first-tier Campeonato Nacional de Futebol Feminino during the 2022-23 tourney on a one-year contract, with the option to extend for one more season.

Apart from Trang and Huynh Nhu, the Portuguese club once tried to sign midfielder Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung and forward Pham Hai Yen in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic and complicated paperwork postponed the recruitment.

In her Facebook post announcing Lank FC Vilaverdense’s invitation on Monday, Trang conveyed her uncertainty.

Her hesitation in making a decision stemmed from her age, being 35 years old, which is considered old in football terms. 

The midfielder feared that she might not be able to keep up with the high level of competition in the top-tier Portuguese women’s association football league.

“Irrespective of my ultimate choice, I view this opportunity as the most significant honor of my life,” Trang wrote in her Facebook post. 

“I will forever cherish and express gratitude to everyone who has shown respect for and faith in me.”

Trang is representing Vietnam in their debut appearance at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, but she has yet to be entrusted with any playing time during the tournament.

Despite that, football experts believe that the scouts from Lank FC Vilaverdense spotted Trang not on the World Cup playing field but rather due to her remarkable and consistent performances in the past.

Trang had played 51 international games in the national team jersey as of June, according to VTC News.

Apart from her role in the national team, Trang holds the key midfield position in the Ho Chi Minh City I Women’s Football Club.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!

Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/sports/20230801/portugese-football-club-attempts-to-sign-another-vietnamese-female-player/74728.html

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