PM sends letter to football team ahead of AFF Cup finals hinh anh 1Players of the Vietnam national football team cheered after a score in a match of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on December 8 sent a letter to encourage the national football team before their participation in the final first leg against Malaysia in the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Suzuki Cup 2018.

In the letter, PM Phuc congratulated and praised the team, particularly Korean head coach Park Hang-seo, for their brilliant performances in the qualifier and semifinal rounds to enter the finals after 10 years awaiting by local football fans.

The government leader expected the whole squad to prepare themselves well, unite together, and play tenaciously and creatively to gain victory in the two final matches.

Reminding the players, who are now in Malaysia for the final first leg, of their fans’ cheerful mood at home, the PM advised them to stay calm and try their best in the coming matches.

Vietnam entered the finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 after defeating the Philippines 2-1 in the return leg of the semifinal, which took place at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium on December 6. The squad also beat the Philippines 2-1 in the first leg held in Bacolod city of the Philippines four days earlier.

Malaysia become the first finalist after a 2-2 draw with the defending champion Thailand in the second leg of their semi-final in Bangkok on December 5. Previously, Malaysia had a 0-0 draw with Thailand in the first leg held in Kuala Lumpur on December 1.

The final first leg between Vietnam and Malaysia is scheduled to take place on December 11, and the return leg will be held four days later.

In the tournament’s history, Vietnam won the championship just once in 2008. With the leadership of coach Park Hang-seo and the current squad, both Vietnamese and Korean football fans are hopeful that the S-shaped country’s team will take the trophy for the second time after 10 years awaiting.-VNA