Despite a heart-breaking last-minute defeat to Uzbekistan in the final of the AFC U23 Championship on Saturday, the Vietnamese team has returned home to a jubilant reception.
Hailed as national heroes, South Korean coach Park Hang-seo’s team made history at the tournament with thrilling victory over regional powerhouses Australia, Iraq and Qatar.
It was the first time a Vietnamese national team has made it to the final of a continental championship, attracting attention from global football fans.
Thousands of supporters flocked to the streets from Noi Bai Airport to the city center to greet the team bus.
The team are scheduled to meet PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc at 2 p.m. in Hanoi today. The PM personally called to congratulate the entire U23 team on their semifinal victory against Qatar, and after the victories against Iraq and Australia.
Before the final against Uzbekistan, Vietnam’s President Tran Dai Quang signed a decision to grant the first class Labor Order to the entire U23 team, and third class Labor Orders to goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung and midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai for their excellent contributions at the 2018 U23 Asian Cup Championship in China.
South Korean coach Park Hang-seo was also awarded a third class Labor Order.
The team will join their fans for a home-coming celebration at My Dinh Stadium at 7 p.m. today.