Vietnam are appearing in their eighth successive AFC Women’s Asian Cup and will be looking to go one better than the sixth place they achieved in 2014.

Hosting the tournament for the second time, Vietnam began with a 3-1 victory over Jordan after Nguyen Thi Muon’s opener was followed with a brace by Le Thu Thanh Huong.

Defeats to Japan and Australia ensued but their opening day victory meant the Southeast Asians had done enough to finish third in their group and book a fifth-place play-off game with Thailand for a berth at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

In front of 18,000 spectators at Ho Chi Minh City’s Thong Nhat Stadium, Vietnam went two down but pulled a late goal back through Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung to ensure a frantic finish.

But the hosts were unable to find an equaliser as their regional rivals advanced to the global showpiece and Vietnam’s tournament ended in disappointment.

The competition, though, had been a dramatic improvement on four years earlier in China, when the Southeast Asians lost all three of their games without scoring a goal to exit at the first hurdle.

On home soil in 2008, meanwhile, Vietnam did manage a 1-0 victory over Thailand but lost to China and DPR Korea as they failed to make the knockout round.

The Vietnamese have a proud record in the AFF (ASEAN Football Federation) Women’s Championship, having been crowned regional champions in 2006 and 2012, while their most recent showing, in 2016, saw them finish as runners-up after losing to Thailand on penalties in the final.

And they have proven even more successful in the SEA Games, winning the gold medal in five of the past seven tournaments, including edging Thailand on goal difference to take first place last year.

Vietnam had few problems in progressing to this year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan after producing a dominant display in the qualifying tournament in Hanoi.

The hosts began with an 11-0 win over Syria, before defeating Singapore 8-0 and the Islamic Republic of Iran 6-1.
However, with Myanmar also winning their first three games, Vietnam still needed at least a draw with their Southeast Asian rivals to book their ticket to Jordan.

And, after the first half ended scoreless, Thi Tuyet Dung (main pix) and Huynh Nhu each scored to secure a 2-0 victory and a place at the first AFC Women’s Asian Cup to be held in West Asia.-

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