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Nguyen Hoang Duc: “U23 Vietnam needs to carry forward the SEA Games spirit”

02 Th6 2022 | 16:06

Midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc said Vietnam can go further in the 2022 Asian U23 Championships with the quality and determination of the squad shaped by the last SEA Games.

On the evening of May 22, Huang De played in the final of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in a 1-0 victory over Thailand at My Dinh Stadium. Photo: Lam Thoa

On the evening of May 22, Huang De played in the final of the 31st Southeast Asian Games in a 1-0 victory over Thailand at My Dinh Stadium. picture: Lin Ru

– With just over 10 days until the final of the 31st SEA Games, Vietnam and Thailand are about to reunite in the opening match of the 2022 U23 Asian Cup. How do you see opportunities in Vietnam?

– Unlike the SEA Games, the upcoming tournament in Uzbekistan will not provide seats for players over the age of 23. In terms of personnel, the two teams have also changed a lot. While retaining the 14 players who had just won gold in My Dinh, Vietnam promised to demonstrate a new way of playing with new coach Gong Wujun. In the short term, it’s hard to tell whether these changes are good or bad. But the spirit and determination of the team certainly hasn’t changed. I believe that if you unite, compete with confidence, and give your strength to the team like in the 31st Southeast Asian Games, Vietnam U23 can achieve good results in this year’s Asian U23 Championships.

– Hoang Duc, Do Hung Dung, Nguyen Tien Linh are clearly marked on the team’s journey in the 31st SEA Games. In your opinion, how does the absence of the three veteran players affect the Vietnam U23s?

– After the gold medal, but even during the game I saw some comments that the players were too chasing the “burden” Vietnam U23. Everyone has the right to have an opinion, but I don’t agree with that. From March to the summit of the SEA Games, I chatted with Tian Ling and Hong Yong, and found that the current U23 players are very professional.

Coach Park Heng-seo himself also made sure that we only play the protagonist, not the core, to build the gameplay. When entering the field, everyone is the same, regardless of age, just telling each other based on their location, fighting over the color of the flag. I am proud to have fought alongside them and won gold. Of course, there are always problems with young players, especially stability. But it takes time and practical experience. The upcoming Asian U23 Championship is such an opportunity for them.

– What is the difference between Huang De’s gold medal in the SEA Games compared to the Philippines in 2019?

– Each victory brings a different emotion. 2019 was Vietnam’s first gold medal in men’s soccer at the Southeast Asian Games after waiting 60 years. At that time, our emotions were like pioneers, setting milestones in the history of football in our country. But this time, as we were crowned at home, to the cheers of thousands of spectators, friends and relatives, it was even more exciting. I still vividly remember the scene where the Rain team cheered on the team at Viet San or My Dinh Stadium. It really helps the team, especially in difficult times.

– Looking back on winning the gold medal at home, what do you think was the toughest game for Vietnam?

– I didn’t see any easy fights. The fact that Vietnam failed to score in the first half in all competitions partly shows this. Apparently, when facing Vietnam, the opponents studied very carefully and were more determined than usual.

– What made Huang De regret the most at the 31st Southeast Asian Games?

– Maybe I didn’t score. Previously, the team preferred a 3-4-3 formation with two midfielders tied. But in the SEA Games, the U23 team played 3-5-2, and I usually played at the bottom of the midfield and played the role of returning the ball, so the role of defense was more.

That said, not much has changed, but I’m still used to it. Position is not the reason I can’t score. Nor is it style. I found myself playing pretty well. Maybe with a little luck. I had a lot of chances, a lot of shots, but the ball went wrong. But it’s no big deal. On top of that, Vietnam won and won the gold medal.

– Coach Park recently said that he needs to help Hwang Deok go abroad to play. What do you think about this?

I don’t hide it. Anyone who asks me is sure that I want to try it abroad. Of course, it depends on the opportunity and the decision of the club.

– Both players and the Thai public seemed very determined to collect their debts when the two teams reunited for the opening match of the Asian U23 team today after the SEA Games loss to Vietnam. What advice do you have for Vietnam U23 players?

– This story takes place in Vietnam at the Southeast Asian Games. As everyone remembers, we were eliminated by Thailand in the AFC Cup semi-final earlier this year. But when we faced them in the SEA Games final, we didn’t have a “revenge” mentality. For me it’s very simple, no matter who the opponent is, to come in is to play hard.

Many people say that Vietnam and Thailand are “adversaries”. But this is football, there is no fate, there is no hostility. Hope the Vietnam U23 players understand this and keep their cool heads and hot hearts for the upcoming important game.

Nguyen Hoang Duc:

Lin Shou