Vietnam v United Arab Emirates (2007 AFC Asian Cup)

The Vietnam men's national football team and the United Arab Emirates men's national football team played a match on 8 July 2007 as part of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup. The game marked the debut of a united Vietnam national football team in a contitental competitive tournament. Previously, only the South Vietnamese national football team had played in competitive tournaments. Vietnam qualified for the tournament as one of four co-host nations of the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, along with Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

2007 AFC Asian Cup
Group Stage Match
Khán đài B - Sân vận động Quốc gia Mỹ Đình.jpg
The Mỹ Đình National Stadium held the match
Event2007 AFC Asian Cup
Date8 July 2007
VenueMỹ Đình National Stadium, Hanoi
RefereeTalaat Najm (Lebanon)

The match is seen in the UAE as Disaster of Hanoi (Arabic: كارثة هانوي‎), as the UAE suffered a denting loss to a much weaker and less developed host nation. Meanwhile, in Vietnam, the match has been significant due to its influence on the future development of Vietnamese football, and is remembered as Miracle of Hanoi (Vietnamese: Điều kỳ diệu ở Hà Nội). The match has been very deep-rooted in Vietnamese society, and is still often used by Vietnamese fans and press to cheer themselves against opponents from the Middle East.[1]


Initially, Vietnam was split into two national teams: North Vietnam and South Vietnam. As a member of both the AFC and FIFA, South Vietnam played in the first two editions of the AFC Asian Cup, in 1956 and 1960. North Vietnam, on the other hand, was not an AFC or FIFA member and, as a result, did not play in either tournament.

The Vietnam War, along with subsequent conflicts after 1975 against the Khmer Rouge, China, and Thailand, resulted in economic downturn. Football development was stunted as a result of civil war, international sanctions, and isolation. Vietnamese economic reforms in 1986 (Đổi Mới) marked Vietnam's return to the international stage and their reappearance in international football.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) first appeared in the tournament in 1980. The team later qualified for the 1990 FIFA World Cup, their only World Cup to date. The Emirati team went on to win the silver medal in the 1996 AFC Asian Cup and qualified for the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup, their second FIFA tournament. By the time they qualified for the 2007 Asian Cup, they were led by Bruno Metsu, the French manager who helped Senegal reach the quarter-finals in their maiden 2002 FIFA World Cup. The UAE won the 2007 Gulf Cup of Nations on home soil.

The UAE was believed to be the stronger team and even with Vietnam hosting, there was little expectation that Vietnam could gain a victory.



Vietnam was regarded as a bad team, and had a below-average performance in the 2006 World Cup qualification, finishing third in their group with a record of 1-1-4. Vietnam's performance had also suffered criticism earlier in the 2007 AFF Championship, when they were eliminated in the semi-finals by Thailand following a 0-2 defeat at home and a 0–0 away draw. Due to these disappointing performances, the Vietnam team coach Alfred Riedl said he had low expectations. Vietnam was drawn against three previous champions in its group: Japan, then-Asian champion, having won the 2004 edition; Qatar, the champion of 2006 Asian Games and the UAE, then-champion of the Gulf Cup also held earlier in 2007.[2] To make matters worse, Vietnam was the lowest-ranked team to be seeded in the competition, ranking 172 at the time.

To prepare for the competition, Vietnam played two friendlies against Jamaica and Bahrain, with the latter shares cultural common with the United Arab Emirates and finished fourth in the previous edition. Vietnam managed to beat Jamaica 3–0 before creating a goal fever in a 5–3 win against the latter.

United Arab EmiratesEdit

The UAE team had suffered several injuries to its roster, but even before the match, the UAE was expected to emerge victoriously. The UAE, having just won the 2007 Gulf Cup, had several top stars in their squad, notably Ismail Matar, Amer Mubarak, and Faisal Khalil. They were also under French coach, Bruno Metsu, who had led Senegal to the quarter-finals of the 2002 FIFA World Cup. Moreover, the UAE had an edge in FIFA position, ranking 87 at the time.



First halfEdit

Vietnam and the UAE opened the Group B matches under the supervision of Lebanese referee Talaat Najm. The UAE started strongly, pressuring the Vietnamese defense in the opening minutes. Vietnam was cheered on by a majority of home fans, but the UAE dominated the opening minutes, demonstrating their skill and experience. Despite this, Vietnam had several chances, but poor-quality finishing lead to them scoring no goals. The UAE controlled possession and managed to create several promising chances, but also didn't score.

The Vietnamese players' discipline helped keep the score heading into half time at 0-0. Vietnam's goalkeeper, Dương Hồng Sơn, played a key role in keeping the score level in the first half.

Second halfEdit

The early stages of the second half were again dominated by the UAE team. Despite missing several opportunities, the UAE side kept focusing on the offensive, leaving them vulnerable to Vietnam counterattacks.

When the ball was passed from the Emirati defense to Ismail Matar, Huỳnh Quang Thanh intercepted the ball. Thanh passed it to Nguyễn Minh Phương before making a run into the penalty area of the UAE. Majed Naser, slow to react to Phương's run, allowed a decisive strike by Thanh to give Vietnam a 1–0 lead in the 64th minute. This came as a complete surprise to the supporters in the stadium, as this was expected to be a routine victory for the UAE.

Faisal Khalil had a chance to equalize for the UAE, but failed to finish. Following which, Vietnam took advantage of the opposing team committing men forward and launched a counter-attack. However, Phùng Văn Nhiên was too slow in his decision-making and the ball was quickly reclaimed by Rashid Abdulrahman, who then passed to Matar. Matar shot directly to the foot of Vietnam's goalkeeper and the ball was sent towards Minh Phương. He then made a long pass through to Lê Công Vinh, who shot the ball over Naser's head in the 73rd minute, giving Vietnam a 2-0 lead.

The Emiratis attacked all-out during the final minutes, to no avail. Vietnam ended the match victorious, defeating the UAE 2–0, and creating the biggest shock in the tournament's opening days. For the UAE, the loss had a disastrous consequence on their campaign. For Vietnam, their shock victory over one of Asia's strongest teams helped establish them as a competent nation in football.


Vietnam  2–0  United Arab Emirates
Huỳnh Quang Thanh   64'
Lê Công Vinh   73'
Attendance: 39,450
Referee: Talaat Najm (Lebanon)
United Arab Emirates
GK 22 Dương Hồng Sơn
RB 16 Huỳnh Quang Thanh   58'
CB 3 Nguyễn Huy Hoàng   78'
CB 7 Vũ Như Thành   33'
LB 2 Phùng Văn Nhiên
CM 17 Nguyễn Vũ Phong   88'
CM 12 Nguyễn Minh Phương (c)   77'
RW 14 Lê Tấn Tài
LW 19 Phan Văn Tài Em   25'
CF 18 Phan Thanh Bình   84'
CF 9 Lê Công Vinh   90+5'
MF 15 Nguyễn Minh Chuyên   77'
FW 21 Nguyễn Anh Đức   84'
FW 10 Huỳnh Phúc Hiệp   90+5'
  Alfred Riedl
GK 1 Majed Naser   63'
RB 17 Yousif Jaber
CB 6 Rashid Abdulrahman
CB 8 Haider Alo Ali   45+1'
LB 14 Basheer Saeed   90+3'
RM 2 Abdulrahim Jumaa (c)   59'
CM 20 Hilal Saeed   80'
LM 13 Ahmed Al Mahri   70'
RF 15 Mohamed Al-Shehhi
CF 10 Ismail Matar
LF 11 Faisal Khalil
MF 18 Amer Mubarak   80'
FW 7 Khalid Darwish   70'
  Bruno Metsu

Man of the Match
Nguyễn Minh Phương (Vietnam)

Assistant referees:
Mostapha Taled (Lebanon)
Reza Sokhandan (Iran)
Fourth official:
Masoud Moradi (Iran)


Vietnam's victory over the UAE was considered one of the biggest upsets of the tournament. Before the tournament, Vietnam was expected to make an early exit given its lowest-ranking position in the tournament, while the UAE was expected to advance to the later stages.

The match's ending had a significant consequence for the tournament. Vietnam's victory over the UAE sparked a surge of surprise upsets in the Asian Cup, including Iraq's shock 3–1 win over Australia and Bahrain's 2–1 victory over South Korea. Although they lost 4–1 to a much more powerful Japan, Vietnam successfully got to the quarter-finals,[3] at which, they were beaten by the eventual champions, Iraq. They were the only team to qualify for the knockout stage out of the four host nations. The tournament was seen as a renaissance of football in the country.

For the UAE, their defeat had a noticeable impact on the team's confidence. The UAE was beaten 3–1 by Japan, and their 2–1 win over neighbor Qatar did little to help them. Ironically, their victory helped Vietnam to go through to the knockout stage.[4]

After the tournament, the UAE suffered a crisis, and their later participation in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup was even more disastrous when a player scored two own goals in 2 matches, and the team ended up last in their group, behind Iran, Iraq and North Korea. By the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, they had improved their performances and finished third.

Both Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates again qualified in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, with the UAE hosting this edition of the tournament. Vietnam reached the quarter-finals in spite of sharing similar fate by sitting with Asian powerhouses and former Asian Cup champions Iran and Iraq. They also managed to overcome two West Asian opponents in Yemen and Jordan, both of whom share common cultural ties to the UAE. The Emiratis managed to reach the semi-finals for the second consecutive tournament, but failed to beat the eventual champions Qatar in a disappointing 0–4 loss.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ "VFF - Kết quả bốc thăm VCK Asian Cup 2007: Việt Nam cùng bảng Nhật Bản, UAE, Qatar". Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  3. ^ "Việt Nam lần đầu tiên vào Tứ kết Asian Cup". Retrieved 2018-06-10.
  4. ^ "Flashback: AFC Asian Cup 2007". Retrieved 2019-09-20.