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Vietnam National Team Stuns Iraq in U-23 Asian Tournament to Reach Semifinals

If you noticed thousands of jubilant people boasting Vietnamese flags flooding onto the street last night, there's a good reason why: Vietnam pulled off a stunning upset against Iraq in the quarterfinals of the AFC U-23 Championship.

Iraq is the previous tournament winner while Vietnam was considered an underdog, VnExpress reports. However, the Southeast Asian team fought to a 1-1 draw at the end of regulation. Both teams put on an offensive show in extra time, with each side scoring twice to bring the match to 3-3 before moving on to penalty kicks. Vietnam then won the additional round 5-3 in dramatic fashion, converting each of their attempts.

The 16-team tournament featuring teams from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) was first held three years ago, and this is the first time a squad from Southeast Asia has reached the semifinals.

Head coach Park Hang-seo told the news source: "We deserve the victory today. I and the players would like to thank all the fans for supporting us throughout the journey."

Meanwhile Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc praised the team in a letter and wished the players "health, success to firmly advance into the final [sic]," VnExpress shares.

Vietnam plays Qatar at 3:30pm on Tuesday for a chance to face either Uzbekistan or South Korea in the final, set to be held on Saturday afternoon.

[Photos via VnExpress]


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