July 6, 2023
HÀ NỘI — The women’s football team left for the Australia/New Zealand World Cup on July 5, shouldering the excitement and hope of a nation at the biggest women’s football event in the world.
The team flew onboard Singapore Airlines, transiting in the Lion City before landing in Auckland in the evening.
Speaking with reporters at Hà Nội’s Nội Bài International Airport, coach Mai Đức Chung said: “I’m very excited about the journey. I don’t know if I’ll have the chance to do another World Cup in my lifetime.”
“It is a special campaign for the national team of Việt Nam and me. Winning a berth in the World Cup is a national pride and our honour. We will sing the national anthem there.
“I came to New Zealand last October with some team officials to investigate the venue. That was our official visit before the tournament. Now I’m bringing my team there to take part in the World Cup.
“We are honoured to say hello to the world-leading event that will be watched by millions of supporters and friends around the world. It makes us really excited,” he said.
His captain Huỳnh Như has played outside Việt Nam many times. She was a vital member of the team in regional and continental tournaments. She was also the first Vietnamese female player to play for a foreign team as a member of Lank FC of Portugal.
Even still, the 31-year-old believes this is the most special flight in her career.
“I’m carrying loads of stuff in this suitcase. I’m also bringing millions of people’s hearts with me who give their love to the Việt Nam team,” she said.
Her teammates, forward Nguyễn Thị Thanh Nhã and midfielder Hoàng Thị Loan could not hide their happiness and nerves.
“I’m so excited about the New Zealand journey. My teammates and I have not thought much about the results but we can’t wait to play in the World Cup,” said Nhã.
“Of course, I’m a little nervous because we’re competing in the World Cup. My target is simple: I will try my best and keep to the tactics of the coaching board,” said Loan.
The defender, who is expected to fully recover from a knee injury before the opening of the Cup, said: “Việt Nam will play the US powerhouse and the Netherlands. We are in the middle level. I have thought a lot about how to face their sharp strikers.
“The cold weather in New Zealand is also a big issue for us as we’re used to the heat in Hà Nội. It will affect the injured players.”
To encourage the team, Acecook Việt Nam on July 4 announced a VNĐ1 billion (US$42,300) sponsorship for their campaign.
The Việt Nam Football Federation also promised a bonus of VNĐ100 million for each goal the team scores in New Zealand.
Also, every player participating in the tournament will receive at least $30,000 from FIFA.
Việt Nam will have two friendly matches against the hosts and Spain next week. Their campaign will begin on July 22 against defending champions the United States. — VNS