Football in Vietnam has had a fantastic 2019 what with them producing one brilliant display after another throughout the calendar year at both the senior and U-23 levels.
The Golden Dragons began the year making the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 before embarking on a 2022 FIFA World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round campaign that has the them topping their group over Thailand, Malaysia, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia.
Meanwhile, Vietnam’s U-23 side secured a place in the 2020 AFC U23 Championship earlier in the year before triumphing in the SEA Games 2019 winning their first-ever gold medal in men’s football at the multi-sport event.
Here, we take a look at the five of their best footballers during 2019…
5) Nguyen Van Toan – Forward – HAGL FC
The pacy forward began the year on the bench for Park Hang-seo, but looks to have established himself as a starter for Vietnam featuring in the starting 11s in all five of their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers ties in 2019. The 23-year-old was also influential for his club Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) during the season scoring nine goals to become the club’s second-highest goalscorer of 2019 and also finding the most assists in the league as HAGL secured eighth place in V.League 1.
4) Que Ngoc Hai – Defender – Viettel FC
Que Ngoc Hai formed the backbone of the Vietnam national team as they surged at the international stage in 2019. The 26-year-old is one of the first names in Park Hang-seo’s Vietnam team sheet and the defender has proven to be ever reliable both as a centre-back and as the captain of the Golden Dragons. Ngoc Hai also helped the newly-promoted Viettel FC finish a creditable sixth place — only three points short of a place in the group stages of the AFC Cup 2020.
3) Do Hung Dung – Midfielder – Hanoi FC
The 26-year-old Hanoi FC man has continued to play a starring role from the heart of that Vietnam midfield and has missed barely any minutes in their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. In the absence of Nguyen Quang Hai, Hung Dung captained the Vietnam U-22s to their first-ever gold medal at the SEA Games 2019. The midfielder also helped Hanoi FC win another V.League 1 title this season while also making a historic appearance in the Inter-Zone Play-Off Final of the AFC Cup 2019.
2) Nguyen Van Quyet – Forward – Hanoi FC
Voted the best player of the 2019 V.League 1 hands down, Nguyen Van Quyet was however not presented with the prize by the Vietnam Professional Football (VPF). The league organisers reasoned that the Hanoi FC star had played only 15 out of 26 matches during the season and also received a red card. But the fact remains that the 28-year-old scored nine goals in those 15 matches and another five in the AFC Cup 2019 helping his team progress where no ASEAN club had gone before.
1) Nguyen Quang Hai – Forward – Hanoi FC
Nguyen Quang Hai, the poster boy of Vietnamese football, shouldered much of the responsibility to see the senior team reach the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 and also guided them through a brilliant start to their World Cup qualification fixtures in 2019. He was also part of the Vietnam U-22s that secured the historic gold at the Southeast Asian Games though missing the knockouts with an injury. At the club level, the 22-year-old starred for Hanoi FC as they won the V.League 1 and a first-ever Vietnamese National Cup. He also almost reached the final of the AFC Cup only losing 1-0 to DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC in the Inter-Zone Final.