Debutantes Vietnam will fight till the end at Women’s World Cup, says captain
The odds are stacked against Vietnam. Not only are the SEA Games champions making their debut at the Women’s World Cup, but they are also opening their Group E campaign on Saturday against two-time defending world champions United States, no less.
Their group also comprises the Netherlands, who were runners-up at the last edition, and another rising European side Portugal.
While acknowledging the magnitude of their task, Vietnam captain Huynh Nhu, 31, also hopes that they can make an impression at the tournament co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand, insisting that they will fight till the end.
The forward became the first female Vietnamese footballer to play professionally in Europe after joining Portuguese second-tier team Lank Vilaverdense in 2022. She hopes her sojourn will stand her team in good stead.
Nhu, who racked up seven goals in her debut Portuguese season, told The Straits Times: “The speed of play in Portugal is much faster and also requires more physicality.
“Portuguese football is about possession so you need to constantly improve your ball control skills, and the coaches always demand very high tactical awareness. We must follow the game plan strictly.
“Playing here definitely helps me to understand Portuguese footballing style and their players more. I hope my understanding about them will help the (Vietnamese) team.
“This is our first time at a World Cup so it will be a learning experience for our team. Our goal is to focus on game by game, our group stage is extremely challenging so we will fight till the end and not give up.”
While the top-ranked Americans and ninth-ranked Dutchwomen are the top two teams from the last edition, she urged her world No. 32 side not to underestimate Portugal (21), adding: “I play there and I know the quality of the players, they are just as good as the other two teams.”
While in Singapore on a holiday with her parents in May after helping Vietnam clinch their fourth straight SEA Games title, Nhu also visited the Lion City Sailors’ Mattar Road training centre.
Describing the Sailors’ $10 million home as “modern, well-equipped and beautiful”, she added: “I think this facility is better than those of many clubs in Europe.”
With Vilaverdense reportedly keen to extend her contract, Nhu is likely to continue her club career in Europe for now. But will she consider turning out for the Sailors in the Deloitte Women’s Premier League in future?
“I will leave it open because right now I am fully focused in Europe. But I like what I have seen in Singapore, so maybe in the next few years,” she replied.