Ho Chi Minh City takes to the streets as Vietnam makes football history

January 24, 2018 | 14:45
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Downtown Ho Chi Minh City ground to a halt last night as crowds celebrated the historic win of Vietnam's U23 football team against Qatar. 
Saigonese people of all ages celebrated the win

It is no secret that Vietnam's national sport is football, and yesterday the Vietnamese people have once again showed their unwavering support for the game.

The cause of boisterous celebrations all across the country last night was the dramatic victory of the Vietnamese football team against Qatar in the semi-finals of the Asian Football Confederation Under-23 Championship in Hangzhou, China.

The match was described as "nerve-wrecking," as the two teams tied at 2-2 after 120 minutes and entered a penalty shootout, which Vietnam won with four goals out of five kicks.

The victory has written football history as this is the first time a Vietnamese team has made it to the finals of an Asian tournament. Throughout the decades, the team usually struggled at Southeast Asian competitions, disappointing legions of fans in the country.

This time, Vietnam is the only Southeast Asian representative in the Top 4, an honour that has warmed the hearts of fans and sent them to the streets on the night of January 23.

Nhi, a 23-year-old office worker who joined the massive celebrations yesterday, told VIR that she felt "insanely proud of the Vietnamese team."

"They played so well and this victory is well-deserved," said Nhi, while waving a Vietnamese flag in downtown Ho Chi Minh City.

Right after the match ended, massive crowds filled the city centre with seas of national flags, blasting horns and beating drums.

Foreign tourists in the Bui Vien backpacker area were taken aback with the bursting enthusiasm, and a few joined in the celebrations.

Tourists taking selfies at the street parades

The street parades continued well into the night, sending the city into a standstill.

The Vietnamese team, which is now affectionately dubbed "national heroes" by fans, will face Uzbekistan in the finals this Saturday at 3PM.

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By By Nam Phuong

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