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The Local Game: Văn Quyết comes out of the wilderness



Peter Cowan

Four years is a long time to wait for anyone, but when you’re as accomplished as Nguyễn Văn Quyết, the last 46 months must have felt like a lifetime.

When Hà Nội FC’s captain lined up for his country in a friendly against Singapore in HCM City last week, it was his first international appearance since November 2018.

It’s not unusual for players to be in and out of international squads, after all, football is a competitive pursuit and there’s always someone gunning for your place.

But someone with the resume of Văn Quyết being left out is unusual.

Over that four-year period, he’s probably been the best domestic player in the V.League 1, as evidenced by him being awarded the league’s player of the season title in 2018 and 2020, as well as the Golden Ball in 2020.

Văn Quyết was a key player for the national team before coach Park Hang-seo took the job in 2017 and kept his place in the early days of the South Korean’s reign.

Whatever he did or didn’t do to become persona non grata is something of a mystery to me and I think most fans and media types alike.

I’ve seen some speculation that Văn Quyết doesn’t fit Park’s playing style or hasn’t been able to adapt to his tactics and if either is the case, I’d say the fault is with Park.

Just take a look at what the number 10 did against Singapore.

While Việt Nam eventually cruised to a 4-0 win, three of those goals came in the second half, and most of the first period was a stodgy affair.

It took a low, rasping drive from distance by Văn Quyết to open the scoring in the 37th minute to calm home nerves.

The fantastic individual effort showed the talent the man has and frankly, if a coach can’t find some way to use a talent like that in a 23-man squad, something is wrong.

Things have obviously worked out well for Park, given all the success the national team has achieved in the last four years, but that doesn’t mean leaving Văn Quyết out wasn’t a blunder.

Let’s face it, Việt Nam isn’t exactly brimming with talent in the forward positions, so it’s always been curious that Văn Quyết couldn’t get into the squad in front of clearly inferior players, even if they did have youth on their side.

Perhaps a couple of moments of magic from his right boot would have made the difference in a World Cup qualifier or two, or maybe at the Asian Cup in 2019.

We’ll never know if Văn Quyết could have inspired the team to even greater heights, but let’s hope his return to the fold isn’t short-lived. VNS 



Vietnam wraps up Asian volleyball championship in 4th place



Vietnam ranked fourth at the 2023 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship after losing 2-3 to Japan in the third-place playoff in Thailand on Wednesday afternoon.

Japan faced a tough challenge from Vietnam throughout the match.

The Vietnamese players gave the back-to-back champions a score chase in the opening set before claiming a surprising 25-21 win.

Japan bounced back to show its dominance and take a commanding 25-14 win in the second set.

In the third set, though Vietnam initially maintained a 4-4 and 6-6 tie, Japan seized control at 10-7 and eventually made a comeback to secure a 25-22 victory.

In the fourth set, Vietnam managed to turn things around in one of the most emotionally charged moments of the match. 

Starting with a 4-8 deficit, the Vietnamese side rallied to score five consecutive points, taking a 9-8 lead and eventually securing the set with a score of 25-20. 

This dramatic 2-2 equalizer forced the match into a decisive fifth set.

Vietnamese players compete during their third-place playoff against Japan at the 2023 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Thailand, September 6, 2023. Photo: SSM

Vietnamese players compete during their third-place playoff against Japan at the 2023 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Thailand, September 6, 2023. Photo: SSM

Vietnam entered the fifth set with confidence, yet Japan promptly took an 8-5 lead. 

The Vietnamese players, however, showed resilience, making a determined effort to narrow the score to 10-12. 

But during the critical moments, Japan remained composed and clinched victory with a score of 15-11.

As a result of this defeat, Vietnam placed fourth in the overall rankings, their best-ever finish at the Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.

Vietnam’s previous most notable achievement was a fifth-place finish in both 2015 and 2017.

Host Thailand claimed their third Asian title with a remarkable unbeaten record after winning the five-set thriller against China in the final match on the same day.

The top three teams — Thailand, China, and Japan — earned a spot in the 2025 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship.

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Military-run Viettel offers free live broadcast of 2024 Euro qualifiers in Vietnam



TV360, the over-the-top (OTT) media service provided by military-run Viettel Telecom and the official rights holder of the 2024 UEFA Euro qualifiers, will provide free live coverage on its network in Vietnam.

The company announced the offer on Wednesday, instructing viewers to utilize its TV360 website and app.

All matches are accessible for free by simply logging into TV360 users’ accounts.

The tournament copyright holder said that TV360 can be streamed without interruptions on various devices such as Smart TVs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and TV360 receivers.

The 2024 UEFA Euro qualifying tournament is being played from March 2023 to March 2024 to determine the 23 member men’s national teams in the Union of European Football Associations that will join the automatically-qualified hosts Germany in the finals, scheduled to take place from June 14 to July 14, 2024.

A total of 53 UEFA member associations were divided into ten groups, with seven groups of five and three groups of six.

The qualifying group stage is being played in a home-and-away, round-robin format on double matchdays in March, June, September, October, and November this year.

The winners and runners-up from the ten groups will qualify directly for the finals.

Following the qualifying group stage, the remaining three teams will be decided through the playoffs, to be held in March 2024. 

Four rounds of qualifiers took place in March and June, with powerhouses like England, France, and Portugal holding the top positions.

Spain, another heavyweight, currently hold the fourth position out of five teams in Group A after one win and one draw. 

The upcoming qualifying matches later this month present Spain with a chance to enhance their performance.

The fifth and sixth rounds of the Euro qualifying stage are scheduled for Thursday to September 13.

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Vietnam Football Federation to cooperate with LaLiga to train coaches, players



The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with LaLiga, Spain’s top men’s professional football division, on Wednesday morning to collaborate on training coaches and players in a Spanish style until 2026.

Both football bodies have entered into a deal to share their knowledge in order to enhance the growth of professional and community football in Vietnam. 

Furthermore, they will undertake initiatives related to national teams and various sports training projects.

In the near term, LaLiga Academy Vietnam, established in late 2021, will conduct training sessions for VFF coaches and youth football development units.

Football experts assessed that the cooperation holds significant importance for the advancement of Vietnamese football, particularly in the context of the VFF’s efforts to strengthen relationships with established football entities in Asia and Europe.

During the signing ceremony in Hanoi, Ivan Codina, LaLiga’s Southeast Asia-Australia, Japan & South Korea managing director, stated that Vietnam holds a strategic position in Asia for LaLiga, which takes pride in the opportunity to collaborate and grow together with Vietnamese football. 

Codina pledged that LaLiga Academy Vietnam will provide support and apply Spanish coaching methods to Vietnamese coach training programs. 

In addition, they have plans to facilitate the development of young Vietnamese football talents through initiatives like training them in Spain and other cooperative programs.

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