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Vietnam satisfied despite defeat to US in World Cup debut



Auckland, NZL; USA forward Sophia Smith (11) scores a goal past Vietnam goalkeeper Tran Thi Kim Thanh (14) in the first half of a group stage match in the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup at Eden Park. Mandatory Credit: Jenna Watson-USA TODAY Sports

Vietnam will take valuable lessons from their Women’s World Cup debut, coach Mai Duc Chung said on Saturday, after losing 3-0 to the four-times champions United States at Auckland’s Eden Park.

One of eight debutantes in an expanded World Cup field in New Zealand and Australia, Vietnam had few expectations heading into the tournament beyond putting their country on the map for international football.

Duc Chung, who had compared heavy favourites the United States to a “big mountain” ahead of Saturday’s affair, said he was pleased with his team’s performance under the pressure of a relentless American offence.

“We tried to limit the attacking from the U.S. team… We tried to come up with these tactics, trying to defend,” he said through a translator. “In terms of spirit, we are very satisfied here today.”

He offered extra praise for his goalkeeper, Tran Thi Kim Thanh, who was kept busy as her team was scarcely able to breach the final third.


She stopped a penalty shot from U.S. veteran Alex Morgan in the first half, a save that Duc Chung said came from hours of preparation.

“Good lesson for us to draw experiences here,” said Duc Chung. “I’m very satisfied with the goalkeeper.”

Vietnam next face Portugal on Thursday in Hamilton.



Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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