With five players, along with Nghe An, Hai Duong had the largest number of players in the national team playing the last three matches in the 2nd round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
Tien Linh contributes three out of seven goals of the Vietnamese team after three matches
Unlike Nghe An, all Hai Duong players played and made extremely important contributions to the Vietnamese team's advancing to the final round of the biggest football tournament on the planet for the first time in history.
The most remarkable player is Tien Linh who was present in the starting lineup in all three matches. In the three matches, the striker from Cam Giang was substituted only once in the 79th minute in the 2-1 win over Malaysia. His substitute in that match was also a Hai Duong striker - Van Toan.
Tien Linh is no longer a new name for Vietnamese fans, as he frequently participated in the national team in recent tournaments. However, not until this time did he confirm his importance and great influence on the play of the whole team.
Talking to reporters by phone before each match, Nguyen Tien Quyen, the striker's father, always believed that his son would score goals. And Tien Linh made it. He was like a golden goose with extremely high scoring performance - one goal per match.
The next one is Van Toan. Despite his thinness, this "son of the Wind God" toppled any big defense. His biggest regret probably is not shooting any goal in these matches.
Nonetheless, what the guy from Hai Duong city did was highly appreciated by experts and fans. Toan's contributions to the overall play of the team were even better than his role.
Despite his thinness, Van Toan topples any defense with his nasty and mischievous play
Whenever being fielded, Tien Linh and Van Toan formed an "atomic" duo that threatened any opponent, from Indonesia and Malaysia to the "rich guy" United Arab Emirates (UAE)'s lineup worth tens of millions of dollars.
Not appearing as much as Van Toan and Tien Linh, but the youngest player Hoang Duc also left a bold mark when he was named in the starting lineup in the match against the old rival Malaysia.
Before the game, many people were worried when Duc had to fill the position of such experienced players as Quang Hai, Xuan Truong, or Tuan Anh. However, Hoang Duc showed the skill and subtle observation of a distributive player.
He was also the author of a solo performance from two third of the football ground through a series of Malaysian defenders before passing the ball to Trong Hoang. Many spectators cried out in regret because if Trong Hoang could have taken advantage of the opportunity, there would have been a high-level goal in Group G. The grading system of Sofa Score – a world-famous website providing football information – did not give any player in the match more than 7.5 points but the 23-year-old midfielder up to 8.8 points.
In the opening game against Indonesia, fans were worried about the absence of wingers like Van Hau or Trong Hoang in the right wing. However, the appearance of Van Thanh cleared up all doubts.
The Thanh Mien player proved that he not only was a Band-Aid solution but also could play effectively in many positions.
In the match against Malaysia, Hoang Duc was graded 8.8/10 points, the highest score among 32 players entering the field, by Sofa Score
In that match, Van Thanh's passes from the right wing corridor opened the door to Indonesia's goal and broke many passes of the rival clinging to the touchline.
Appearing only a few minutes in the match against Malaysia, the remaining player of Hai Duong, Duc Huy, also proved that coach Park's trust was completely grounded.
Together with his fellow Thanh Mien player, from the time of appearance on the field in the 57th minute, Duc Huy and Van Thanh built a solid position in a one-striker lineup. Though regrettable, the player's little playing time is completely explainable since all players were of equal quality.
After the 2nd round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, Vietnam ranks second after the host UAE with 17 points (the points got after two wins against the bottom team Indonesia have not been subtracted due to the withdrawal of North Korea).
The Vietnamese team scored seven goals and conceded four goals. The most impressive thing is that four of the goals were shot by Hai Duong players, including three of Tien Linh (three matches) and one of Van Thanh in the "four-star" victory against Indonesia, not to mention the 2nd goal against Malaysia from the penalty spot with great credit going to Van Toan after his thrust in the penalty area forced a Malaysian defender to commit a foul.
The Vietnamese team set a new milestone when reaching the final round of a World Cup for the first time as the sole representative of Southeast Asia.
In this final round, it will be extremely difficult for the team to play top teams in the continent like South Korea, Japan, Iran, or Saudi Arabia; however, Vietnam's participation in the same group with them alone will be extremely useful contact.