Vietnam took home the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games gold medal in women’s football after trouncing hosts Malaysia 6-0 on Thursday, hot on the heels of their male counterpart’s shameful defeat to Thailand.
This is the first title for the Vietnamese women’s team in eight years, but their fifth SEA Games championship since women’s football was introduced to the region’s biggest sporting competition.
With only five teams competing in women’s football this year, the tournament was held in round robin format.
After three games, Vietnam and Thailand both had seven points, but Thailand’s superior goal difference, +7 compared to +5, gave them a firm hold on first place going into the final match.
In their last game of the tournament on Thursday, Thailand beat the Philippines 3-1, putting an even tighter grip on the top spot with ten points and a goal difference of +9.
Vietnam entered their final match against Malaysia knowing they’d have to defeat Malaysia by at least five goals. And that they did.
In a complete blowout the Golden stars finished the match with a stunning 6-0 victory against their hosts.
Nguyen Thi Lieu and Nguyen Thi Muon netted two goals each, while Vu Thi Nhung and Huynh Nhu each scored once.
|Vietnam's women's football players celebrate after winning the game.|
Vietnam won women’s football gold at three biennial SEA Games in a row from 2001 to 2005, then snatched another at the 2009 Games in Laos.
With this latest championship, Vietnam takes equal footing with Thailand’s five SEA Games women’s football titles.
For some on the Vietnamese side, the victory meant much more than just a gold medal. Keeper Kieu Trinh was unable to hold back her tears while describing her feelings after a victorious ending to the last SEA Games appearance of her career.
“The feelings are just indescribable. It’s been eight years since we last won the Games,” she said.
“This marked a meaningful end to my career.”
Coach Mai Duc Chung said he had tried not to appear overexcited when Vietnam netted the decisive fifth goal.
“This is also a sweet answer to a statement by the Thai football association before the event started that they would win all four football-related gold medals in Malaysia,” said former player Van Thi Thanh.
The women’s football gold medal is the only success for Vietnam football at the ongoing Games in Malaysia, given the men’s and women’s futsal teams, and the men’s football squad had all suffered crushing defeats on their gold medal journeys.
Vietnam’s men’s team only needed one point in their clash with Thailand to advance, but ended up conceding a 0-3 defeat. Coach Nguyen Huu Thang also announced his resignation right after the match.
The women’s team will receive total cash award of VND3.9 billion (US$171,806) for their gold medal.