Grushin Andrey, the agent of Vietnamese goalkeeper Dang Van Lam, sparked controversy on Monday by publishing a Facebook post criticizing Nguyen Filip, Lam’s successor, who played in Vietnam’s 2-4 loss to Japan at the ongoing 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar.
Vietnam shocked Japan, four-time champions who last won the Asian Cup in 2011, with a 2-1 lead before the Samurai Blue staged a comeback to secure an eventual victory in their Group D opener on Sunday evening.
Post-match, Vietnam’s head coach Philippe Troussier, who is no stranger to Japan having guided them to the title in 2000, said he is pleased with the performance of his team.
Troussier also praised Filip’s resilience under pressure, highlighting not only his remarkable saves but also his contributions to Vietnam’s ball distribution from their defensive end.
Replacing 30-year-old goalie Dang Van Lam, who is recuperating from an injury, Filip showcased commendable performance in his debut for the national team, regardless of an initial mistake in Japan’s first goal.
However, Grushin Andrey, Lam’s agent, took to his personal Facebook page on Monday morning to criticize Filip.
“Despite scoring two goals against Japan for the first time in history, we conceded four goals,” Andrey wrote in Vietnamese in his Facebook post.
“In my view, a competent goalkeeper could have secured at least a draw in such a match.
“Unfortunately, Filip failed to rescue his team from the conceded goals and fell short in his debut for the national team.
“His performance contradicts the pre-match acclaim from reporters/journalists.
“[Instead, he was] the worst player of the match.
“In the 2019 Asian Cup quarterfinal against Japan, the then-goalkeeper, whom [Dang Van Lam] I won’t name, saved the entire team, preventing clear goals and earning the Man of the Match title.
“However, in today’s match, no one could salvage the team. It’s disheartening.
“If you don’t want to acknowledge it, you must still address it.
“From an expert’s viewpoint, Nguyen Filip is the weakest link in the team.
“I’d also like to address those who are PAID to boost Nguyen Filip’s image: I read your articles and found it amusing and lackluster.
“A competent goalkeeper in this match wouldn’t have conceded four goals.
“These are purely my personal opinions.”
|Vietnamese goalkeeper Nguyen Filip (yellow jersey) blocks a shot during the Group D opener between Vietnam and Japan at the 2023 Asian Cup in Qatar, January 14, 2024. Photo: Vietnam Football Federation
Following Andrey’s Facebook post, Vietnamese fans and the media responded with displeasure and frustration.
“I recommend removing this post promptly. It’s detrimental to the player you represent. Such behavior is unfavorable,” a reporter commented under the post.
Meanwhile, many other did not respond with the same level of moderation as numerous comments expressed anger and included strong language directed at Andrey.
“Your client [Dang Van Lam] did a disservice to the Vietnamese team in the last minute of the Iraq match in the second qualifying round of the 2026 World Cup and [I] didn’t see you post anything [about it]?” a comment read, incidcating Vietnam's 0-1 defeat against Iraq in Hanoi on November 21, 2023.
A Facebook user wrote in another comment, “Don’t let envy cloud your judgment as Van Lam’s agent. Your post won’t sway coach Philippe Troussier’s decision. It’s evident that Japan are formidable, and conceding was inevitable. Fans noticed Filip’s commendable performance, especially his skillful footwork. That’s undeniable.”
“I heard that goalkeeper Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona FC) conceded four goals in the friendly match where Germany lost 1-4 to Japan,” another comment pointed out, implying that even an excellent goalkeeper like Andre ter Stegen can concede many goals, so criticism of Nguyen Filip may be unwarranted.
Andrey then deleted his Facebook post.
Russian-born Dang Van Lam joined Vietnam’s national squad in 2015 and stands as one of the team’s top goalkeepers.
Meanwhile, Nguyen Filip, who was born in the Czech Republic and recently became eligible to play for the team after gaining Vietnamese citizenship, was selected to replace Lam in light of his injury.
The 2023 AFC Asian Cup, held in Qatar until February 10, involves 24 teams competing in six groups using a round-robin format.
The top two teams from each group and the four best-performing third-placed teams will advance to the Round of 16.
Reigning champions Qatar are in Group A with China, Tajikistan, and Lebanon, while Group B includes 2015 champions Australia, along with Uzbekistan, Syria, and India.
Three-time champions Iran compete against the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, and Palestine in Group C.
Vietnam are in Group D with strong rivals Japan, Iraq, and Indonesia.
South Korea face Malaysia, Jordan, and Bahrain in Group E, while three-time title holders Saudi Arabia play Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, and Oman in Group F.
Vietnam’s next match is against Indonesia on January 19.