Preview for Saigon Times/May 2014: Vietnam women set for showdown to secure World Cup berth

Braving the rain during Vietnam's 2-0 loss to Australia in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday. The home team can still secure a berth at the Women's World Cup in Canada with a win against Thailand Wednesday.

Braving the rain during Vietnam’s 2-0 loss to Australia in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday. The home team can still secure a berth at the Women’s World Cup in Canada with a win against Thailand Wednesday.

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Braving the rain during Vietnam’s 2-0 loss to Australia in Ho Chi Minh City Sunday. The home team can still secure a berth at the Women’s World Cup in Canada with a win against Thailand Wednesday.

By Harry Hodge
While most prospective visitors to Canada plan trips to Niagara Falls or strolls through the Rocky Mountains, a group of Vietnamese women is set on a different kind of visit.
To play the best soccer teams from around the globe at the FIFA 2015 Women’s World Cup.
But to get there, the plucky Vietnamese national women’s team must get by Thailand Wednesday night to book the fifth and final berth for the Asian group at the global event. Thailand wrapped up third place in Group B with a win over Myanmar Monday night. In Vietnam’s corner: A nation of supporters as the Vietnamese women seek a historic win on home soil at Thong Nhat Stadium.
As hosts of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Women’s Cup, Vietnam finished third in Group A following a tough loss to Japan, a competitive and close match against Australia, and a dominant win over Jordan. Australia, China, South Korea and Japan have all advanced to the 2015 event, but Vietnam has a chance to clinch the final spot Wednesday.
In order to do so, they’ll need the goal output provided in the Jordan win from Nguyen Thi Muon and Le Thu Thanh Huong. Watching Vietnam take on Australia through rainy season conditions at the venerable District 10 venue, supporter Kim Do felt qualification for the Canadian tournament next year would be a big boost for Vietnam, where men’s soccer captures all the headlines.
“That would be awesome,” said Do, 25. “To me, their skills are good, but they’re a bit small, so it’s easy to lose energy.
“If we (qualify for Canada) I’d love to watch.”
The atmosphere was festive on the weekend, with fans dancing and displaying placards reading “giu lua dam me” (Keep fire for passion) and blasting vuvuzelas despite the torrential downpour and somewhat pushy ticket scalpers laying in wait outside the stadium. But with prices set at a modest 50,000 Vietnam dong, it’s the best sports ticket in town this Wednesday.
Head down to Thong Nhat Stadium, 138 Đào Duy Từ Street in District 10, to cheer on Vietnam. Game time is set for 5:15 p.m.

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About hodgedude

I'm a Canadian journalist and teacher, most recently living in Edmonton and Toronto, now located in Ho Chi Minh City. Graduate of Concordia University in Montreal. I've taught English in S. Korea, pulled rickshaws in Canada, taught at a Taiwanese language boot camp, edited newspapers in China and played a French-speaking Spanish colonel on Vietnamese TV. I also play Australian football. Pick up a copy of issue one of my independent comic, "Getting Lucky," at Happy Harbor Comics in Edmonton, the Comic Hunter in Moncton, New Brunswick, and the Spotted Cow Pub, 111 Bui Vien, District 1, Saigon.
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