Vietnam dominates FOX Sports Asia’s Best XI of 2019

by NDO23 December 2019 Last updated at 14:48 PM - Wrapping up a successful 2019, it’s no surprise that Vietnamese football dominated the list for top 11 Southeast Asian footballers of the year selected by FOX Sports Asia.

Accordingly, in the ASEAN Best XI of 2019, FOX Sports Asia also prefers the 3-4-3 formation regular chosen by Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo. In particular, Vietnam account for the overwhelming number of players in the best squad of the year with four names.

This is a completely worthy judgment as over the year, Vietnamese football has achieved remarkable success with impressive performances at the international arena, namely reaching the quarter-finals of the 2019 Asian Cup, finishing runners-up in 2019 King's Cup, while maintaining an unbeaten run at the top position in Group G in the second qualifying round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup for the Asian sector, and last but not least, the historic gold medal in the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games early this year.

Such achievements have helped Park's side close a successful year as they end 2019 with a historical place on the FIFA World Rankings, at No. 94 in the world – the highest in 20 years – and No. 14 in Asia, while firmly standing at the number one position in Southeast Asia, 19 places above their regional arch rivals Thailand – the second team in the region.

Contributing to these successes is the excellent performances by Vietnamese players. In particular, FOX Sports Asia selected the four most impressive names from the Vietnamese squad to fill in the Best XI of the year in Southeast Asian. The first is centre-back Que Ngoc Hai, the captain of Vietnam’s senior team. Talking about the Viettel FC;s player, FOX Sports wrote: " Que Ngoc Hai was the captain and leader for the “Golden Dragons” as they had a solid season in international football reaching the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup and topping their ASEAN-heavy group in the World Cup Qualifiers with three matches left. The 26-year-old also popped up to score the odd goal in 2019 finding the back of the net against Yemen in the Asian championship and in a 3-1 win over Indonesia in the 2022 World Cup and 2023 AFC Asian Cup Joint-Qualifiers second round. At the club level, Ngoc Hai helped the newly-promoted Viettel FC finish a creditable sixth place in V.League 1 – only three points short of a place in the group stages of the AFC Cup 2020.”

Another name from Vietnamese football that FOX Sports highly praised in the defensive line of the Best XI of the year is defender Doan Van Hau. This sports network is impressed by what the promising young defender has shown so far: “Doan Van Hau took the leap of faith by signing for Dutch Eredivisie side SC Heerenveen on loan back in September and it looks like the gamble is finally paying off with the Vietnam full-back making his first-team debut only this week [Dec. 18]. At the international level, Van Hau has operated as a left-back in Park Hang-seo’s 5-4-1 formation playing a starring role in the Asian Cup as well as the World Cup Qualifiers. And to cap off the year, the 20-year-old scored a brace in the final of the 30th Southeast Asian Games in Philippines as Vietnam U22s downed Indonesia 3-0 to win their first ever SEA Games men’s football gold medal.”

In the midfield, it is hard to ignore the "tireless shuttle" Do Hung Dung, who has shined in both the Vietnamese national teams as well as for Hanoi FC in all the important competitions since the beginning of the year. Hence why FOX Sports Asia chose Hung Dung in the impressive squad of the year. FOX Sports wrote: “The 26-year-old Hanoi FC man has established himself at the heart of the Vietnam midfield in 2019 and has been a permanent fixture in Park Hang-seo’s squad during the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. In the absence of injured Nguyen Quang Hai, Hung Dung also captained the Vietnam U22s to their first-ever gold medal at the SEA Games 2019. At the club level, the central midfielder also helped Hanoi FC win another V.League 1 title this season and powered the Capital Team to a historic appearance in the Inter-Zone Play-Off Final of the AFC Cup 2019, where they lost narrowly to DPR Korea’s 4.25 SC.”

The last name of Vietnamese football in FOX Sports Asia’s Best XI of the year is Nguyen Quang Hai. The Hanoi native is currently the favourite for the Vietnam Golden Ball 2019 after a brilliant year at both national team and club levels. Writing about Quang Hai, FOX Sports Asia described: “Vietnam superstar Nguyen Quang Hai once again took the Vietnam national team under his wings in 2019, guiding them to the quarterfinals of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 and also helping them top their World Cup Qualifiers group. He was also included in the Vietnam U22 squad for the SEA Games 2019, but missed the later stages of the competition as they secured a historic gold at the Southeast Asian Games. The 22-year-old also starred for Hanoi FC as they won their fifth V.League 1 title and a first-ever Vietnamese National Cup. Quang Hai also shined in the AFC Cup scoring a brace against Altyn Asyr FC in the Inter-Zone Play-Off Semi-finals, but couldn’t guide the Purple-Yellows past 4.25 SC in the Inter-Zone Final.”

In addition to four names from Vietnam, Thailand ranked second on this list with three players to be present in the Best XI, including goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen and duo Theerathon Bunmathan and Chanathip Songkrasin, who both play in Japan. Other names in the 11-man squad include Stephan Schrock (Philippines), Hlaing Bo Bo (Myanmar), Safawi Rasid (Malaysia) and Ikhsan Fandi (Singapore).

It is a pity that some impressive names of Vietnamese football in the past year, including goalkeeper Dang Van Lam and winger Nguyen Trong Hoang were not on this list, but their contributions to the success of Vietnamese football throughout the year is undeniable not without praise. Hopefully with the successes in 2019, Vietnamese football will continue to look forward to new milestones in 2020, starting with the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in January next year, before returning to the 2022 World Cup qualifying front in March and especially the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup at the end of the year.

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