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Vietnam make history with first-ever slot in final round of World Cup qualifiers

Vietnam have secured their maiden progression into the final round of the World Cup Asian qualifiers as one of the best group runners-up despite conceding a 2-3 defeat against the United Arab Emirates in their last Group G match on June 15.

The win meant UAE dethroned Vietnam from the top spot of Group G on the final day to reach the final round of the Asian qualifiers for the second time running while there was joy for Vietnam regardless of the defeat as they advanced for the first time in their history.

Vietnam, make history, first-ever slot, final round, World Cup qualifiers, maiden progression, World Cup Asian qualifiers

Vietnam (in red) have made it through to the final round of the World Cup qualifiers for the first time.

The Golden Star Warriors settled for second place in Group G stage with 17 points, one behind leaders UAE and five points clear of third-placed Malaysia, who edged past Thailand with a score of 1-0 on the same day.

Ali Hassan opened the scoring for the UAE after 32 minutes with Ramadan lofting the ball to Ali Hassan who shot past goalkeeper Bui Tan Truong to put the hosts in front.

Ali Mabkhout made it 2-0 by converting a penalty eight minutes later after goalie Tan Truong fouled Abdullah Al-Naqbi in the box.

In the second half, Vietnam intensified their attacks seeking to pull back a goal. However, their ambition was dealt a big blow in the 50th minute as Khamees added a third goal for the hosts.

Vietnam, make history, first-ever slot, final round, World Cup qualifiers, maiden progression, World Cup Asian qualifiers

Vietnam's Nguyen Tien Linh in action during the match.

Despite a three-goal deficit, the Golden Star Warriors showed a brilliant fighting spirit in the remainder of the game. Tan Truong saved the Southeast Asian side from further lagging behind by saving a subtle low drive by Ali Hassan eight minutes later and a close-range volley by De Lima with seven minutes to go.

Vietnam's efforts were paid off in the 84th minute as substitute Minh Vuong assisted Nguyen Tien Linh to reduce the gap by 1-2. Vuong missed another opportunity with a shot on the side of the net in the next four minutes before getting himself on the scoresheet three minutes into stoppage time with a subtle finish past the UAE goalkeeper.

Vietnam, make history, first-ever slot, final round, World Cup qualifiers, maiden progression, World Cup Asian qualifiers

Vietnam settle for second place in Group G.

With the result, Vietnam have settled for second place in Group G with 17 points, and rank fourth among the five best runners-up in the group stage (after China - 13 points, Oman -12, and Iraq - 11), who will book their place in the final round of the World Cup qualifiers.

In the third round, the 12 teams that advance from the second round will be divided into two groups of six teams to play home-and-away round-robin matches. The top two teams of each group will qualify for the World Cup.

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Source: NDO

Vietnam, make history, first-ever slot, final round, World Cup qualifiers, maiden progression, World Cup Asian qualifiers
 
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