Beating Japan on penalties, Vietnam books first-ever place at Futsal World Cup

Thursday, 2016-02-18 11:32:51
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Vietnamese players burst out in happiness after creating a seismic shock at the 2016 AFC Futsal Championship. (Photo: vnexpress.net)
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NDO – Vietnam won the penalty shootout against Japan in the quarterfinals of the 2016 AFC Futsal Championship on February 17, thereby booking a slot in the semifinal round as well as securing an official ticket to the 2016 Futsal World Cup, scheduled in Colombia later this year. 

>>> Vietnam to meet Japan in AFC futsal quarterfinals

Alongside the goal of deciding the continental “king”, the AFC championship also functions as a World Cup qualification tournament, with the five World Cup slots to be granted to the four semifinalists and the winner of play-off matches, which gather the four losers of the quarterfinals.

After coursing through the group stage as the runner-up, Vietnam set up a quarterfinal clash with powerhouse Japan, the three-time Asian champion (in 2006, 2012 and 2014) with four world championships attended.

As Japan seemed to be too tough for Vietnam to knock down, the red-colour team demonstrated excellent competitive spirit and bravery, and won the penalties with a bit of luck to make history for the country.

Entering the match with great determination, Vietnam created a number of scoring chances but could not convert them into goals due to inaccuracy in their finishes. In contrast, Japan made best use of their opportunities taking the lead with two consecutive goals by Nibuya Kazuhiro and Morioka Kaoru in the 7th and 13th minutes.

When it seemed a disastrous ending for Bruno Garcia and his team, Van Vu beat Japanese goalkeeper Sekiguchi to pull a goal back for Vietnam, lighting up hopes for a successful comeback.

Watanabe Tomoaki extended Japan’s lead in the 25th minute; however, two goals in the last five official minutes of play by Danh Phat and Van Vu helped Vietnam equalise the score and forced the match into extra time.

Determined to finish the match instead of using penalties, Japan intensified their offense and regained the lead with Kaoru’s goal in the first minute of extra time. But once again, Vietnam proved things were not so easy for the three-time Asian champion as Thai Huy fired a nice shot to make it 4-4, bringing the match into the penalty shootout, where Vietnam declared victory with two successful kicks by Bao Quan and Trong Luan against one by Japan.

Earlier, another Southeast Asian representative, Thailand overcame Australia 6-1 to advance.

In the semifinals scheduled tomorrow, Vietnam is set to play Iran, who beat Kyrgyzstan, while Thailand meet with Uzbekistan, who defeated Iraq 3-0.