AFC Asian Cup 2019

AFC Asian Cup 2019: 5 talking points as Vietnam’s fairytale run ends with a 1-0 defeat to Japan

Vietnam’s fairytale run in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 came to an end as they fell to four-time champions Japan by a solitary goal in a tightly-contested quarterfinal at the Rashid Al-Maktoum Stadium in Dubai on Thursday.

Vietnam began the game well and looked worthy opponents for the Asian giants in the first half, but a Ritsu Doan penalty early on in the second half, awarded after a VAR interception, was the difference between the two sides and sent Japan through to the semifinals of the continental championship.

Here are five talking points from the first quarterfinal of the 17th edition of the Asian Cup.

1) Vietnam up to task against Samurai Blue

Many, fans and pundits like, thought the four-time champions Japan had too much quality for the Golden Dragons. But 60-year-old Park proved in the first 45 minutes that when you have a group of willing workers like the Vietnam national team, any top-quality opposition can be given a hard time. It was all Vietnam in the early exchanges with the Southeast Asian champions giving Japan some real scares in Dubai. Striker Nguyen Cong Phuong showed a sign of things to come as he ran at Yoshida and forced a corner out of the Southampton man as early as the third minute. They were also impressive as a defending closing down spaces for the Japanese to operate on and looking for quick counters.

2) VAR throws Golden Dragons a lifeline!

AFC Asian Cup 2019: Japan skipper Maya Yoshida’s goal ruled out against Vietnam

3) And then it goes against Vietnam!!

AFC Asian Cup 2019: Referee awards Japan penalty against Vietnam after consulting VAR

4) Japan huff and puff into the semifinals 

In the end, Vietnam ended with 12 shots compared to Japan’s 11. And it was once again a not very convincing display from the four-time champions. Hajime Moriyasu’s men struggled against Japan in the first half before producing a much-improved display in the second period. Vietnam did have chances to equalise, but Japan’s defence held up well. The Samurai Blue will now face the winners of the quarterfinal between China PR and IR Iran in what promises to be a very exciting semifinal. Fans might not be happy with their style of play under their new coach, but as they say while attack wins you matches, it is the defence that wins you the titles. And they are two steps away from a major one in the United Arab Emirates.

5) For Vietnam, the only way is up.

Their fairytale run into the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 might be over, but for Vietnam, the only way is forward. After reaching the final of the AFC U-23 Championship 2018, semifinals of the Asian Games 2018 and winning the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 last year, the Golden Dragons have now shown the world that they can compete among the elite the sport. With age on their side, it looks like the future is for them to own. If Park Hang-seo can continue working his magic with this group of players, they will be a force to reckon with in Asian football in the decade to come. Well done Vietnam for making the whole of ASEAN proud!

Copy from Foxsport

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