With only one win from their first four matches, Vietnam looked set to crash out of the FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, but under new head coach Kim Sang-sik, they defeated the Philippines 3-2 in a thriller to keep their hopes alive in Group F – with Nguyen Tien Linh providing the impetus with a double in the comeback victory, according to the AFC.

Striker Nguyen Tien Linh of Vietnam (Photo: VFF)

The website also wrote that Tien Linh, who scored eight goals in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and six times in Vietnam’s run into the 2022 AFF Championship final, opened his account with the Golden Star Warriors’ equalizer in the 65th minute before planting a towering header past Azkals goalkeeper Neil Etheridge 11 minutes later.

Vietnam trail second-placed Indonesia by one point as they head into their final match against group toppers Iraq, the AFC added.

The list of players who impressed on Matchday Five of the qualification campaign also includes Koki Ogawa of Japan, Husniddin Aliqulov of Uzbekistan, Son Heung-min of the Republic of Korea, Abdulrahman Al Mushaifri of Oman, Yazan Al Naimat of Jordan, Behram Abduweli of China, and Ali Jasim of Iraq.

Vietnam will play their away game against Iraq on June 12, hoping to secure a spot in the third Asian qualifying round for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

Iraq now top Group F with 15 points, followed by Indonesia and Vietnam with seven and six points, respectively. With only one point, the Philippines are at the bottom of the group.

Source: VNA