On the 9th (Korean time), Vietnam held Indonesia at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam, led by Shin Tae-yong (53), in the home game of the 2022 Southeast Asia Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup (Mitsubishi Cup) semi-final (home and away) second leg. They beat it 2-0. After a 0-0 draw in the first leg of the away match, Vietnam advanced to the final with an overall record of 1 win and 1 draw. Coach Park continued his superiority with 2 wins and 2 draws in the face-to-face confrontation with coach Shin. The Mitsubishi Cup, held every two years, is the most prestigious tournament in the region, called the ‘Southeast Asia World Cup’. It was called the Suzuki Cup until the last tournament, but the sponsor changed from this year. 10 teams participated in this competition.
The final is the stage of the ‘Last Dance’, where director Park will step out as the Vietnamese command tower. Director Park, whose contract expires on the 31st, decided not to extend the contract with Vietnam. During the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, coach Park, who helped coach Guus Hiddink as the head coach of the Korean national team and contributed to the legend of the semifinals, has been in charge of Vietnam since 2017. This time he wrote his own mythology. In 2018, he brought Vietnam to the top of the Mitsubishi Cup (then Suzuki Cup) for the first time in 10 years, and won another championship at the Southeast Asian Games (SEA) in 2019, causing a ‘Park Hang-seo craze’.
It was at this time that the nickname ‘Ssaldink (rice noodles + Hiddink)’ was attached. Vietnam also advanced to the Asian final qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. He achieved great results even after leading the national team under the age of 23 (U-23). He commanded runners-up at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-23 Championship in 2018, and in the same year, at the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games, he led Vietnam to its first semi-final.
Among them, the Mitsubishi Cup has a special meaning to coach Park. This is because it is a tournament that gave Vietnam its first championship trophy. Is that why? Director Park dreams of a great finale at his first championship stage five years ago. Throughout the semi-finals, coach Park did not hesitate to engage in a ‘war of nerves’ with coach Shin. Controversy arose that the two commanders refused to shake hands ahead of the confrontation. Coach Shin posted a message on his social media requesting ‘fair play’ from the referee and players, and it became a hot topic again. When the referee blew the whistle to end the game, coach Park jumped out of the bench and hugged the players. His victory ceremony was more intense than usual, such as stretching his arms in the air and smiling broadly.
At the post-game press conference, coach Park praised the students who did their best, saying, “In the end, the important thing is to go to the final. I’m really proud of the effort our team showed today.” He continued, “Vietnamese players are one step above other Southeast Asian teams,” but he lowered his attitude, saying, “I am an ordinary coach.” Regarding the battle of nerves with coach Shin, “Director Shin Tae-yong and I have no choice but to react sensitively to the match result. So, we talked about each other.
Vietnam will play the 안전놀이터 first and second leg of the final on the 13th (home) and 16th (away). Coach Park said, “I will play the game with the spirit of Vietnam to win the championship and repay the love of the Vietnamese fans.”