HÀ NỘI — The World Cup has gone finished its first week of competition, and the twists and turns have presented themselves over and over again.
Socceroos bounce back
After their 1-4 hammering at the hands of France, a win was needed for Australia to progress.
The Socceroos’ resolve was proven through their aggressive pressure and attack in the first half. Crosses were sent into the box where Graham Arnold’s men had the height advantage.
From one such cross came Australia’s opening goal, courtesy of Mitchell Duke with a header to the top corner.
After conceding Tunisia pushed for the equaliser, however, luck was not on their side, as Drager and Msakni’s shot was not on target.
Graham Arnold’s side was defensively sound in the second half, whereas Tunisia could only pump long balls forward for Youssef Msakni, who did not have his best day and couldn’t help Tunisia escape a 1-0 defeat.
Mbappe brace broke 12-year-old holders’ curse
The match between current champions France and Euro semifinalists Denmark started slowly and cautiously. Denmark was defensive and waited for counterattacks, and seemed happy with a draw.
France was dominating in the first half, having lots of chances in the final third, however, they were stopped by Kasper Schmeichel’s brilliance.
But the former Leicester keeper could not stall France for long. In the 61st minute, from a one-two with Theo Hernandez, superstar Kylian Mbappe opened the score for France.
Denmark his back just minutes later from a corner by Christian Eriksen, which reached Andreas Christensen who beat Lloris at point-blank range. They almost complete the comeback, had Lindstrom beaten Lloris inside the box.
Didier Deschamps brought on Ibrahima Konaté and Kingsley Coman to bolster France, and slowly grabbed the game back. In the 86th minute, Mbappe tapped in Griezmann’s cross with his thighs and brought France the three points they needed.
France have now qualified for the Round of 16, becoming the first title holders to progress through the group stage since Brazil in 2006. Denmark have to win against Australia on Wednesday and await the result of France and Tunisia.
Lewandowski pulls Saudi Arabia back down to Earth
A confident Saudi Arabia went into their match against Poland, after their shock victory against Argentina behind them.
The Green Falcons, surprisingly dominated against Czeslaw Michniewicz’s Poland, keeping 64 per cent of possession and making 16 shots.
Poland had to resort to fouls to put out the fiery Saudis, getting booked three times in the process. Michniewicz’s team was cornered but pulled out the uppercut that stunned the Saudis near the break.
Robert Lewandowski, not playing in his usual role as a poacher, became Poland’s target man and tried to make space for his teammates. Such play finally succeeded in the 39th minute, when Lewandowski passed to Piotr Zielinski who was inside the box and tapped in the empty net.
Hervé Renard’s team had a golden chance to equalise in the 45th minute when Krystian Bielik brought down Al-Shehri inside the penalty area. VAR reviewed the incident and gave Saudi Arabia a penalty, but Salem Al-Dawsari could not beat Wojciech Szczesny from the spot.
Saudi Arabia went all-out attack in the second half, but Michniewicz’s defence stayed strong. The White Eagles even got their second goal, when Lewandowski stole the ball from Al-Malki’s foot right at the edge of the box and slotted in his first-ever World Cup goal.
Lewandowski’s goal solidified Poland’s victory on the night, as well as first place in Group C.
Messi saving Argentina from potential elimination
35-year-old Argentinian captain Lionel Messi was instrumental in Argentina’s 2-0 win against Mexico on Saturday.
Mexico’s coach, Tata Martino, also a former coach of Messi at Argentina and Barcelona, said before the match that Mexico knew how to stop Messi from reaching victory.
Martino was correct, for 63 minutes at least, when his side started to be complacent and did not mark Messi, who thumped in a cracker with his left foot that beat Guillermo Ochoa.
This was Messi’ eighth goal ever in a World Cup after 21 matches. But his magic did not stop there.
In the 87th minute, Messi made a lobbed pass toward the box, where starlet Enzo Fernandez was free. The 21-year-old striker hit a screamer in Ochoa’s top corner, cementing Argentina’s victory.
Much more work is needed by Lionel Scaloni’s side to qualify. — VNS
Free film screenings celebrate founding of the Communist Party of Việt Nam
HÀ NỘI — The National Cinema Centre is giving out free tickets for the Vietnamese blockbuster Tôi Thấy Hoa Vàng Trên Cỏ Xanh (I See Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass) and the documentary Đoàn Kết Là Sức Mạnh (Unity is Strength) from now until Sunday (February 5).
The free screenings are to celebrate the Lunar New Year and the 93rd anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of Việt Nam(February 3, 1930 – February 3, 2023).
Unity is Strength is part of the series Con Đường Đã Chọn (Chosen Path) produced by the People’s Army Cinema. The 30-minute documentary shows the path to independence, freedom and reunification of the country chosen by President Hồ Chí Minh, the Vietnamese Communist Party and the people.
The feature I See Yellow Flowers on the Green Grass, directed by Victor Vũ and adapted from the novel by best-selling author Nguyễn Nhật Ánh, is an emotional story about the homeland, family, and childhood.
Released in 2015, the film was a cinematic phenomenon in the domestic box office, earning over VNĐ80 billion (US$3.6 million). It was listed among the top 10 outstanding cultural events in Việt Nam and won the Bông Sen Vàng (Golden Lotus) prize at the 19th Việt Nam Film Festival in 2015.
It was screened at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival. It also won many prestigious awards, including Best Film at the TIFF Kids International Film Festival 2016, the Golden Lotus award at the 19th Việt Nam Film Festival, the Golden Kite award at the Việt Nam Film Festival 2015, and Best Film at the second Silk Road International Film Festival in 2015 in China. The film competed in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the 89th Oscars in February 2017.
Free invitation tickets are being distributed at the ticket counter of the National Cinema Centre, located at 87 Láng Hạ Street. Each person can get a maximum of four tickets. The films are screened every day until Sunday at 5.40pm. VNS
HCM City’s theatres ready for Tết
HCM CITY — HCM City’s theatres promise a variety of new shows to suit audiences of varying musical and dramatic tastes during the Tết (Lunar New Year) holiday.
The Small Theatre on Võ Văn Tần Street in District 3 will offer the musical Đại Náo Thuỷ Cung (Fight for the Ocean) for children from January 22 to 29.
The play sends a message of environmental protection, featuring a group of children on a journey to protect the ocean.
Meritorious Artist Mỹ Uyên, the theatre’s director, told to local media: “I decided to stage a play for children because they also need entertainment during Tết. All the artists and I very feel happy when staging a special performance for children in such a special occasion.”
For comedy fans, the Thế Giới Trẻ (World of Youth) Drama Club on Cống Quỳnh Street in District 1 will offer two new comedies Thả Thính Mà Không Dính (Fail at Flirting) and Nghiệp Quật (Retribution) each night from January 22-30.
Thả Thính Mà Không Dính, a co-production with the HCM City Theatre Association, highlights funny stories happening daily at a coffee vendor, featuring veteran and young actors such as People’s Artist Hoài Linh, Nam Thư and Hồng Trang.
Nghiệp Quật has attracted young actors from the HCM City University of Theatre and Cinematography. The play focuses on messages about karma.
According to the theatre’s representative, they are trying to create more new exciting plays to serve audiences and offer opportunities for young actors to show off their skills.
Another option for laughs is the musical Em Em Chị Chị (Brother and Sister) staged by the IDECAF Drama Stage.
Directed by Quốc Thịnh, the play focuses on the challenges and competition in the entertainment industry, featuring young actors Võ Minh Lâm and Lệ Trinh.
The play will be first staged at 4pm and 8pm on January 23, 25 and 29 at the Thanh Niên (Youth) Stage at 4 Phạm Ngọc Thạch Street in District 1.
For fans of cải lương (reformed opera), there will be more quality plays from popular theatres.
The Gia Bảo Entertainment Company will stage the classic cải lương play Hoa Mộc Lan (Mulan) on January 25, or the fourth day of Lunar New Year.
The play will attract the performance of veteran actors such as Meritorious Artists Vũ Luân, Kim Tiểu Long and Tú Sương, along with young actors Bình Tinh and Lê Thanh Thảo.
Bảo said: “Hoa Mộc Lan is a lovely and funny play which is suitable for the holiday season. I hope the play will become a good start for the cải lương art of Việt Nam in 2023.”
The play will be performed at the Trần Hữu Trang Theatre on 136 Trần Hưng Đạo Street in District 1.
The Sen Việt Theatre will perform Kiếp Tằm (Life Cycle of Silkworm), a historical play written by playwright Lê Duy Hạnh and directed by Meritorious Artist Lê Nguyên Đạt on January 26, 27 and 28, or the sixth, seventh and eighth of Lunar New Year.
The play highlights a conflict in politics to gain power between two best friends, featuring Meritorious Artists Vũ Luân and Lê Trung Thảo.
Meritorious Artist Đạt said: “Renewing a classic play is also a way to attract audiences, especially youth, and remind them of the country’s history, traditional culture and lifestyle.”
The play will begin at 8pm at 5B Võ Văn Tần Street in District 3.
The Trần Hữu Trang Theatre, the city’s leading cải lương troupe, will offer an interesting feast for cải lương lovers with two new plays, Ngai Vàng và Tội Ác (Throne and Crime) and Tuyệt Tình Ca (Goodbye Song).
The performances will feature Meritorious Artists Trọng Phúc and Ngọc Đợi, together with young actors from the theatre.
The two plays will be staged on January 30 and February 4 at 136 Trần Hưng Đạo Street in District 1.
As is their tradition, the theatre will offer free shows for residents living in outlying districts such as Nhà Bè and Củ Chi and workers at industrial parks and export processing zones during the holiday.
The shows began this week and will continue through January 26. — VNS
‘My goal is always the same’: Linh aims to be V.League 1 top scorer
HÀ NỘI — Nguyễn Tiến Linh, the star striker for the national team, has set his sights on dominating the V.League 1 this year and ending the season as top scorer.
“My personal goal is always the same in the national premiere league. I always want to score a lot of goals. Hopefully, this year I can become the top scorer,” Linh said on Monday.
His nearest competition will be a little bit closer to home this season than last. Linh will be competing alongside last season’s V.League 1 top scorer Rimario Allando Gordon, who joined Bình Dương from Hải Phòng where he scored 17 goals last season.
In addition to Gordon, Bình Dương also have Việt Cường, Sỹ Giáp and rookie Neto Nogueira.
“Bình Dương having V.League 1 2022’s top scorer Gordon is good news for the team. For Linh, it is an honour to compete with Gordon. We will unite and fight for the club’s achievements. Competition to be the leading striker will be fierce,” Linh said.
Meanwhile, Bình Dương’s target is to compete for accolades this year.
“In the 2023 season, Bình Dương’s players have changed a lot, but we will definitely keep the spirit of solidarity and confidence,” Linh said.
“I think the goal set by the club’s leaders is not too difficult. We are ready to fight and hope to achieve our goal this season.” Linh added.
Linh has been nominated for the Golden Ball award 2022, along with other four players: Đỗ Hùng Dũng of Hà Nội FC, Nguyễn Hoàng Đức of Viettel FC, Đặng Văn Lâm of Topenland Bình Định, and Nguyễn Văn Quyết of Hà Nội FC.
“Being in the top five of the Vietnamese Golden Ball 2022 is an honour for me. Last year, I finished third in this award. In my opinion, every Vietnamese player wants to take this title. All players in the top five have had a successful year in their club and national team. Everyone has his advantages, and this year, if anyone is named, I congratulate him. In the short term, I hope to be invited to the awards gala night before being named,” Linh said.
In the 2022 season, Linh scored nine goals and was the second-best domestic striker in the league after striker Tuấn Hải (10 goals). VNS
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