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Sorry Gareth, I was very wrong




TEAM WORK: England players celebrate Harry Kane’s winner against Denmark in the semi-final. AFP/VNA Photo

Paul Kennedy

I’d like to think England manager Gareth Southgate is an avid reader of Việt Nam News in general, and this column in particular, but I doubt it.

I’d also like to think after seeing what I’ve written over the past few weeks about my ‘couldn’t-care-less’ attitude to all things international football, he used my words as inspiration to gee up his players.

“Let’s put that Paul Kennedy idiot in his place lads,” Gareth probably never said to the team before England took on Denmark in the semi-finals of the Euros yesterday.

But whatever Gareth did say pre-match, and indeed before every game England has played in the Euros, it not only did the trick, but sure did put me in my place and, dare I say it, changed my way of thinking.

I’d like to first of all get one thing straight. If I was back home in my father’s house in Liverpool, some 9,311.41 km from my current residence (yes, I Google mapped it) then maybe I’d feel a little bit more excited.

As it is, to watch the majority of England games here in Hà Nội (pubs are closed after 9pm remember) I’m stuck at home. And as much as I respect the coverage of Vietnamese channels, I can’t understand a word of it (Oh, is it just me or do VTV commentators get excited over the smallest things?)

Then there’s the time difference. To watch, for example, the England v Denmark game, I’d have had to wake up at 2am, watch the match, half time, plus extra time, which would have taken me to around 4.30am, just a couple of hours before I start work the following day.

So all in all, things are pretty much stacked against me when it comes to following England during the Euros. If I was back home, then sure, 8pm kick-off, pub with the lads, I’ve no doubt my interest levels would rise a good few notches.

But it has to be said, even though my viewing of games has been limited to a highlights reel on YouTube after I already know the score, England have been brilliant.

Southgate has quietly gotten on with the job in hand. There’s been very little, if any, drama, and this particular England squad seems far more likeable, as there are no prima donnas in the team, compared to tournaments gone by.

Look at the midfield from the past. Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Paul Scholes and David Beckham. Four of the best midfielders the game has ever produced.

In comparison, Mason Mount, Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Declan Rice look more like four lads delivering a tumble dryer to your house or spinning you faster on a fairground ride than international superstars, but they have been nothing short of superb.

Harry Kane, despite a slow start, has started banging in the goals and even though many were unsure about Everton keeper Jordan Pickford, he has only let in one goal in the entire tournament.

So next comes Italy, in what is England’s first ever major final in 55 years. A tough game for sure, but one England are capable of winning, especially as the game is being played at Wembley.

Sadly it’s at daft o’clock here in Việt Nam, but on this occasion, I think I’ve no choice but to tune in. Now where can I buy an England shirt from?



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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