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Tashkent: Coach Bruno Formoso hailed Vietnam’s thrilling quarter-final win over Japan at the AFC Futsal Championship on Wednesday as one of the country’s greatest sporting achievements.

Phung Trong Luan scored the decisive penalty in the shootout after the tie had ended 4-4 after extra-time at Universal Stadium.

And after eliminating the defending champions, Vietnam secured their first qualification for the FIFA Futsal World Cup as well as a meeting with 10-time winners Iran in Friday’s semi-final.

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“Whether futsal or football, Vietnam has never reached to the World Cup, even in other sports, and we are delighted and I’m sure the people are thrilled. But I’m just as happy for my players and my staff because we managed to follow our game plan and earn this result,” said Formoso.

“Our tournament though is not finished, of course it’s great we’ve qualified, but the next step is going to the final here and we have to do well in another tough match against Iran in the semi-finals.”

Vietnam were never ahead in the contest as Tran Van Vu, Danh Phat, Tran Van Vu  and Tran Thai Huy netted for Formoso’s side. 

“When you play a game there are always micro-games, the start and the first five minutes are very important and the finish and start of the halves, but my team kept calm even against the favourite we kept our intensity,” added Formoso.

“We knew the longer game went on and we were still in touch we would have a chance. There was a tactical game and a psychological game and we had such a young side so to maintain that discipline in both areas is just wonderful.”

Kaoru Morioka and Kazuhiro Nibuya both missed for Japan in the shootout having each netted twice for Miguel Rodrigo’s side.

“Everything went wrong for us, we had a lot of opportunities to close out the game and we faced an opponent with a fantastic spirit so I have to congratulate them for a win they deserved and we have to learn from this,” said Rodrigo.

“We didn’t defend as we had so far and we also had a couple of decisive scoring chances we didn’t convert.

“Even though we couldn’t kill off the match I can’t blame the players, and if someone has to be blamed for the loss, then that’s me.”

Japan, though, can still qualify for the FIFA Futsal World Cup, but must quickly re-group for Thursday’s fifth place semi-final play-off with Kyrgyzstan.

“I told the players immediately after the match that I was raised with the values that you learn about someone’s character not in the good times but in the bad and we have to take an attitude and behave as a champion and show we know how to bounce back,” added Rodrigo.

Photo: AFC