Regardless of the pressure from 3 thousand home fans and solid, tricky play from opponents as well as bias attitude from referee, U19 Vietnam (VN) players who were at the youngest age of the tournament played with resilience before winning a silver medal after the penalty shootouts.
There was a tremendous pressure from more than 30,000 Indonesian fans at Gelora Delta Sidoarjo stadium. However, U19 VN still entered the game with confidence and full of desire to win, which was something that the elder from U23 or national team also respected for. Coach Guillaume Graechen obviously did an excellent job before this match. The young players were playing very proactively with good ball control when overwhelming the home team Indonesia.
It was the proactive game play that made the difference between U19 VN and U19 Indonesia throughout 45 minutes of the first half. In most situations, VN players had correct judgment on the opponents’ attacking situations. Also from such proactive game play, U19 VN created more chances than their rivals.
U19 Vietnam could hold their head high to bid farewell to the title – Photo: Gia Hung
On the side of Indonesia, the Coach Indra Sjafri students learnt many lessons from the loss in the first round against U19 VN. “We lost in the first round, but it does not mean we will lose again this match. U19 VN is very strong but we carefully studied your game play”, stressed Mr. Indra Sjafri before the match.
As announced by Coach Indra Sjafri, U19 Indonesia played sticky and especially ready to play solid to cope with the rhythmatic game play from U19 Vietnam. It was the aggressive game play that made Trum Tinh of U19 VN carried off after receiving a shot on his face, which then made him bleed. In the first minutes of the second half, Hong Duy continued to leave the field due to the opponent’s solid play.
It was clearly out of expectation for Coach Guillaume Graechen when he had to change players very soon and all were in reluctant situations. It was the referee’s mercy that encouraged Indonesia to continue using the solid play to control the match. According to the statistics, in the first 16 minutes of the first half, U19 Indonesia committed a foul 6 times compared to once by U19 VN. Of course, such statistics did not really reflect the truth when the Thai referee ignored many errors and brutal fouls from the home team.
U19 Indonesia had the advantages of the physical play with speed and not being afraid of collision. However, it can be easily seen that U19 VN did not hesitate against the opponent’s game play. Even at many points, it was the home team that had to sweat after U19 VN’ s fast game play with woven ball in narrow range.
If Indonesian goalkeeper Murdianto did not show too excellent performance in several situations, U19 VN could have scored the opening. Most unfortunate shot was the one in the close range of Cong Phuong, yet the home team’s goalkeeper flied just in time to save the net at a 5 meter distance.
Although the first half went by without any goal for U19 VN, the performance of Coach Guillaume Graechen’s students were very convincing. No one expected that the U19 VN players who were almost in at the age of 16 and 17 could play such a smooth and resilient game.
The experience of Indonesian players was shown in the second half. However, they were soon trapped in the counter attack game play of Vietnamese young players. It was lucky for U19 Indonesia when their goalkeeper played so ecstatic that prevent many dangerous shots from U19 VN.
Yet the U19 Indonesia was not completely overshadowed. With a vigorous physical foundation, the home team always bombarded down the two wings before crossing into the penalty box of Vietnam. Such dangerous situations were really a warning to U19 VN.
Those who watched the match could see that it was the solid game play that helped Indonesia dominate at the last minutes. Many players from U19 VN were hurt, but still played with resilient spirit when we had no more substitution. People couldn’t forget the images of Van Toan, Thanh Tung, Dong Trieu, Tuan Anh, etc who were constantly being fouled and hobbled, even lying on the field but seemed to forget the pain to run after the ball.
What the Indonesian feared the most before the match finally came true. Once again, U19 VN played with unyielding spirit despite they were almost exhausted. Thanh Tung even missed a very unfortunate chance in injury time when facing the opponent’s goalkeeper.
After 120 minutes being physically tortured, the “wounded” U19 VN players entered the penalty shootouts. The Coach Guillaume Graechen’s students kicked the balls with bravery and determination, yet we had no luck…
Loosing the championship by a narrow margin, perhaps there was no more sadness towards Coach Guillaume Graechen and his students. However, one thing for sure that they were still the winner in Vietnamese heart.
A convincing game play, a spirit of competition for the national colors had been greatly performed by U19 VN players right from the first round and this was the image of a beautiful game play that Vietnamese fans had been waiting for such a long time. Failure is the mother of success. U19 VN needs the losses to be more matured and they soon will become the future of Vietnamese football in the near future.
Just wait and believe!