***I DON’T HAVE FIFA’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT TO USE, TALK, THINK OR EVEN YELL AT RANDOS FROM MY BALCONY ABOUT ANY NAMES, COUNTRIES OR EVENTS MENTIONED IN MY FIFA WORLD CUP QATAR 2022 COVERAGE, SO FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS FROM HERE ON IN, THE EVENT WILL BE REFERRED TO AS QLAMQTAR 2022.***
The Qlamqtar 2022 World Cup is only about 4 moons away (depending on your own set of lunar circumstances) and the first ever World Cup held in the Arab world promises to be a real doozy. World Cup history is a tale resplendent with stories of triumph against the odds, childhood dreams coming true and unsung heroes becoming legends. As well as dumb idiot losers, wanker fuck ups and teams that are just total bullshit.
But how shall ye learn about these legends, losers and teams that are just total bullshit? Well look no further my wayward friend as I profile all 211 FIFA nations eligible for World Cup qualification. Today, I take a look at Vietnam, which is yet to qualify for a World Cup.
Rambo was wrong (again)
Nickname: Rồng vàng (Golden Dragons)
FIFA Ranking: 96 (June 2022)
FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualification result: Failed to advance from third round (AFC) group stage, finishing bottom of group, behind Saudi Arabia, Japan, Australia, Oman and China
Wrong about Afghanistan in Rambo III, Rambo’s also screwed the pooch in Rambo First Blood: Part II, rejecting his Colonel’s idea that the old Vietnam is dead. But it is dead. The shitty Vietnam of yesteryear is but a memory now, despite what Rambo might think.
Known for his ability to get the job done no matter what, Rambo’s also become known for some embarrassing gaffs in his time too. But don’t listen to him, because the Vietnam of old is truly gone. Gone are the days of match fixing, the coaching merry-go-round of 13 coaches in 14 years and an seemingly eternal inferiority and submission to its regional neighbours. Those days are long gone, what’s more, Vietnam has in fact proved their might over their Asian rivals on the greatest stage possible, not only recently but also on the greatest stage there is –the World Cup.
Being placed alongside Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and one other team in Group G of second round World Cup qualifying (the ‘G’ stood for ‘Goddam it, we put all the south east Asian countries together, plus one other team, whoops’), the Golden Dragons ultimately came out on top of the pile of Mekong River mud, finishing second only to One Other Team.
Suffering either from ignorance or a clinical brain haemorrhage as a result of blunt trauma in Rambo: First Blood part one, Rambo couldn’t have been more wrong on this one. The Vietnam of old is not still alive (even if Rambo is). Far from it. Those duds are long gone, and there’s a new team in town. Unlike any team in its past, this Vietnam is one that has become the strongest team in all of South East Asia, and just advanced to the final round of World Cup qualifying for the first time in its history, falling just one step short of qualifying for the 2022 Qlamqtar World Cup. Good one Rambo, you did it again.
One to watch: The Coach Terminator
Any coach facing the Vietnam national team Park Hang-seo better have another job lined up. Thailand’s Sirisak Yodyadthai, UAE’s Bert Van Marwijk, Indonesia’s Indra Sjafri and even his mentor from the 2002 World Cup with South Korea Guus Hiddink all were terminated following a loss to Park’s Vietnam side.
An underwhelmingly lame and universally canned appointment to begin with, coach Park–who’s Korean–has revolutionised the Golden Dragons, taking the under-23s to the final of the AFC Championship, winning one AFF Championship, and most recently, the furthest they’ve ever been in World Cup qualifying.
Having being made an honorary citizen by the Vietnamese government thanks to the success he’s brought the national team, he’s also responsible for the Vietnamese government implementing more favourable VISA regulations for Koreans and has gone from being the most attacked coaching hire in Vietnamese national team history in 2017 (due to his apparent shitty role call of shitty teams previously coached), to today being more loved by Vietnamese than singer who first rose to fame on TV talent show Your Face Sounds Familiar [sic] Khoi My, actor and comedian who in 2015 started dating singer Hari Won MC Tran Thanh, and performing artist whose composed soundtrack for the movie Chang Trai Nam Ay (Dandelion), was delayed due to allegations that the soundtrack was too similar to Korean singer Jung Yong Hwa’s Because I Miss You Son Tung M-TP!
The Highpoint: Failing to maintain the status quo of South East Asian nations and actually succeeding, World Cup 2022 Qualifying
Failing to live up to the expectations of fans, pundits and the broader soccer public, Vietnam failed in their attempt to be eliminated before the business end of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. There’s only ever been one south east Asian nation (and that was Indonesia’s bullshit qualification and shitty one match effort in 1934) out of the 13 nation contingent to ever qualify for the World Cup. And this low bar has remained a bar way too high for the remaining 12 ASEAN countries (Brunei, Cambodia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam), that is until Vietnam– JUST RELAX, VIETNAM DID NOT QUALIFY FOR THE QLAMQTAR WORLD CUP, JUST TAKE IT EASY–came closer than any of its predecessors, advancing from its first round group (fittingly almost entirely made up of south east countries) to the final stage.
Ultimately it finished bottom of its group and fell well short of a World Cup spot (or even the playoffs), but fuck me, they took the lead after just 3 minutes in their third round opener against Saudi Arabia, managed to get a draw from their away fixture against Asian giant Japan, defeated China in Hanoi and aside from a 4-0 battering in Australia, were competitive in all other games, dropping to losses by either a solitary goal or 2. Wow, the days of singing ‘Việt Nam ơi cùng nhau Việt Nam ơi hãy nhớ Việt Nam không chùn bước Luôn quyết thắng chông gai Việt Nam ơi cùng nhau Việt Nam ơi hãy nhớ Trong chiến thắng vinh quang Khó khăn luôn chờ!’ (Together Vietnam Remember Vietnam We cry and we fight Together we try Together Vietnam Remember Vietnam Hardship after storm Glory will come!), which is typically sung when Vietnam is losing to a stronger opponent may be numbered!
Learn the lingo & speak like a local!
AFC ASIAN CUP 2023