New captain Dũng aims for Tết special against China

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Newly-appointed captain Đỗ Hùng Dũng (fourth from left) will look to make a big impact in the remaining World Cup qualifiers, after a serious injury ruled him out for most of last year. — Photo vff.org.vn

HÀ NỘI — Returning after a serious leg-break almost a year ago, Đỗ Hùng Dũng is back in the national squad and, with the captain’s armband, is ready to stamp his authority on Việt Nam’s remaining World Cup qualifiers against Australia, China, Oman and Japan.

The national team will face China at the Mỹ Đình stadium on the first day of Lunar New Year, a game that will mean a lot for Dũng.

“This will be a unique Tết celebration and we hope we can bring a very special performance to match,” Dũng said.

“As we know, the Mỹ Đình stadium will welcome about 20,000 fans to watch the national team face China on the first day of Lunar New Year.

“With that many fans, it will be a huge motivation for us. We hope for a great performance, but remember to comply with the pandemic prevention regulations when cheering for us.

“Of course, I will miss my family when we play during Tết, as this is one of very few family-gathering occasions, but it will still be special for me,” said the 28-year-old midfielder.

Returning to football after an awful tackle in a game against Hồ Chí Minh City FC sidelined him in March last year, Dũng has put his all into getting back into the form that saw him win the Vietnamese Golden Ball in 2019.

Despite being advised not to rush his recovery, Dũng never says “No” when his nation calls.

By the end of 2021, he was ready to play ago, though missed out on a chance to play at the AFF Suzuki Cup in Singapore due to a paperwork issue.

The newly-appointed national-side captain knows he has big shoes to fill in taking over from Quế Ngọc Hải, but isn’t lacking confidence.

“I’m fully confident in myself,” Dũng said.

“We all trust each other explicitly; players and coaching staff. Myself or anyone else with this responsibility will always motivate the team to do the best.

“Of course, before being called up Coach Park consulted the medical department on how to get us into the best shape and condition to compete at the highest level.

“That’s why I am confident and will put in the best performance possible for the nation.”

Việt Nam will face Australia away on January 27th and China at home on February 1st. The national team have yet to win any points and are rooted to the bottom of Group B. — VNS

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