Vietnam Olympic football team (Source: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - The Vietnam Olympic football team is being heaped with encouragement and applause, especially from Southeast Asia’s media, before the quarterfinals at the ongoing Asian Games (ASIAD) 2018, where the team will face Syrian rivals.

Bangkok Post quoted Malaysian assistant coach Brad Moloney as saying that the impressive performances of Southeast Asian sides, with Vietnam already in the quarter-finals, suggest that the once-massive gap between ASEAN and Asia's elite is being narrowed.

"I believe the potential is starting to be realised, particularly after Vietnam's heroics at the AFC U23 in January and several good results from ASEAN nations since," Maloney said. 

Meanwhile, head coach of the Malaysian Olympic team Ong Kim Swee  also praised U23 Vietnam, expressing the hope that the team will continue to be the flagship of Southeast Asian football.

SINA newspaper of China highly praised the success of the Vietnam Olympic team, saying that the teams from the Republic of Korea and Uzbekistan will have to be cautious of magical tactics by Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo and his team, especially their counterattack style and admirable fighting spirit.

It is not easy for the Vietnamese team to reach the finals as they may encounter the RoK or Uzbekistan, but with what it has shown, strong teams will have to be careful about the team, SINA said.

In a recent analysis of ASIAD, the Thai-language Football Tribe sports website said that Southeast Asian football is waiting for a new success of the Vietnam Olympic team, the only in the region to reach the quarterfinals, now that Indonesia and Malaysia have been knocked out.

This is the first time the Vietnam Olympic team has reached the quarterfinals of the continental sports event  - a new milestone in the country’s football history.

Behind Vietnam’s rise as a giant-killer at the ASIAD is head coach Park Hang-seo from the RoK who has been given big applause by international media, including those from his home country.-VNA