Vietnam has made it to the semifinals of the Asia U23 Championship, and in doing so created possibly the biggest fanfare in the country’s football history.
Popular milk tea shops are serving free drinks to anyone named Bui Tien Dung, coincidentally the name of both players who helped Vietnam overcome Iraq on penalties last Saturday to secure a place in the semifinals.
Goalkeeper Dung was injured and on painkillers during the match, which makes his performance over more than two hours even more incredible.
Midfielder Dung took the final penalty for Vietnam to win the game, and the image of him taking off his shirt and celebrating has been played over and over by local television stations.
A shop in Ha Nam Province outside Hanoi is serving free drinks to anyone called Bui Tien Dung, and people just named Dung can buy two drinks and get one free.
Shops are not just playing with names, but also with numbers and colors. Discounts of 23 percent, fixed prices of VND230,000, and promotions for customers aged 23 or wearing red, the official color of the Vietnamese team, can be found at many outlets.
A luxury shoe chain is offering 23,000 products for VND230,000 each, while a coffee chain in Saigon gave 23 percent discounts on its entire menu on Sunday and offered 50 percent off for customers named Dung.
The chain is preparing a similar promotion before Vietnam’s next match on Tuesday, when the team will take on Qatar for a place in the final.
A coffee shop in Hanoi also announced 23 percent discounts on all drinks after the victory on Saturday night.
“My family are all football fans so we were happy to offer the discounts. People were happy, like a festival,” said Ha Tam, the owner.
The victory on Saturday was one of the biggest in the history of Vietnamese football, and has created a sence of euphoria among die-hard fans and those who just watch the game once a year.
People were running in the streets, screaming and waving flags and shirts after the victory over Iraq, and many have changed their Facebook profile pictures to special frames with the players.
Several private companies have announced they will be letting employees leave early to watch the game at 3 p.m. on Tuesday.
Low-cost carrier VietJet, known for its controversial yet somehow successful bikini marketing, has promised to paint images of the players on its aircraft if they win on Tuesday.
Good luck Vietnam!