Here is a post with a bit of a difference – we are not football fans nor do we have any interest in promoting it – but we are in Vietnam, our team are almost all Vietnamese and we feel very proud this week of Vietnamese attitude and unity – characteristics we see also every day in our work lives. Vietnam is a friendly, happy and hard working country.
It may not have been a perfectly happy ending for Vietnam football team when they lost out on a snow filled pitch (most of the players will not have seen snow before, nevermind played in it) in the final minute of the final against Uzbekistan for under 23s, a level nobody in Vietnam felt they would be able to reach. Hence it didn’t matter much that they didn´t win. The main prize had already been won- the heart of millions Vietnamese.
The country was so proud of their team regardless that the party went right ahead anyway with streets flooded with excited supporters incredulous that their team made it so far. The huge crowds of fans were bursting with national pride as they streamed home, some still chanting "Vietnam the champion!". Grandparents and babies, rich and poor – everyone was out celebrating.
The streets were flooded with a sea of red and gold as flag-waving fans, many also wearing red headbands that said "Vietnam Wins". Strangers hugged and shook hands sharing unlimited joy.
A week before the final match, people talked and discussed excitedly about football everywhere in schools, markets, restaurants and buses. Some of them had never had any interest in the game before.
On the final day, everybody gathered together in coffee shops, public squares and stadiums watching the game. Cinemas were screening for free. Companies were sending employees home early. Even patients in hospitals put aside their sickness and suffering, enjoyed the match.
The past weeks have been a fantastic journey for the players and the country. It is not just a game any more, it unites the whole country and brings people closer together.
Well done Vietnam! And not just the team, well done the people of Vietnam for their positive attitude and unity as a country!