Vietnam have failed again in their latest effort to defeat arch-rivals Thailand, when they clashed in an Asian World Cup qualifying game in Hanoi on Tuesday night.
The Thais were not scared by nearly 40,000 fans who filled My Dinh National Stadium to watch the Group F match of the 2018 FIFA World Cup’s Asian qualifying round, most of whom left extremely dissatisfied with what they saw.
Thailand, who beat Vietnam 1-0 in the first-leg game in Bangkok in May, took the lead 30 minutes into the game with a powerful shot from 25 meters by midfielder Kroekrit.
The visitors were totally in control of the game, whereas Vietnam hardly had a chance to challenge Thai goalie Kawin.
Goalkeeper Nguyen Manh was the best performer among his Vietnamese teammates, but still failed to keep a clean sheet.
Vietnam suffered an own goal by defender Tien Thanh in the 56th minute, before Theerathon settled the game in the 70th.
Vietnam have not beaten Thailand since their 2-1 victory at the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup, which the Vietnamese later claimed by winning 3-2 on aggregate.
Thailand have now cemented their top position in Group F of Asian qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, with ten points after four games, leaving Vietnam trailing behind in third place with only four points in the bank.
Former Vietnam international Tran Minh Chien said the visitors totally deserved victory because Vietnam were the underdogs despite being on home soil, and the Thais gave a much stronger and better performance.
“Thailand netted three goals with only five shots on target for the entire match, which illustrates that fact that the Thais are much better trained than their Vietnamese opponents,” Chien wrote to Tuoi Tre.
“So there is nothing wrong with losing the game, and there is no point being upset about yet another heavy loss of the national team against Thailand.”
Vietnam's coach Toshiya Miura complained at the post-match press meeting that his men had thrown in the towel too early, just after the first goal.
He repeatedly condemned the bad spirit of the Vietnamese players and said if the first half had ended at 0-0 or 1-1, his men could have done much better.
The Japanese national said Vietnam needs more time to improve the quality of its top-tier league, the V-League 1, which is now lagging far behind the equivalent in Thailand, the Thai Premier League.
Miura added that he did not know when Vietnam’s football could catch up with Thailand's.
In the meantime, his Thai counterpart Kiatisak was humble at their away victory, saying young players dominated the Vietnamese squad so they must have lost due to a lack of experience.
The 3-0 win “was incredible and beyond my imagination,” he told reporters.