U20 World Cup: Vietnam make history with NZ tie hinh anh 1Captain Nguyen Quang Hai of Vietnam (left) tries to pass Kiwi player Reese Cox during their U20 World Cup in the Republic of Korea on May 22 (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) - Vietnam have made history for the Southeast Asian region in the Republic of Korean FIFA U20 World Cup as they earned their first ever point after a 0-0 draw with New Zealand in Cheonan city on May 22.

Full of energy, Vietnam were clearly up for the occasion. The team maintained the high pace of the game and created a number of chances in the first half, which kept New Zealand on their toes.

The World Cup debutants got Kiwi keeper Michael Woud into action twice in a minute. First, they denied Doan Van Hau from a distance, before scrambling to claw away Nguyen Quang Hai’s cheeky attempt directly from a corner.

It seemed that Cameroonian referee Sidi Alioum refused a penalty to Vietnam at the 37th minute when Reese Cox let a ball touch his hand in the box.

After the break, Vietnam continued to be more inspired but their high-energy exploits saw batteries begin to drain and New Zealand began to find pockets of space higher and higher up the field. As the clock wound down, there was still a chance for Vietnam to snatch a historic win, but Nguyen Hoang Duc blazed over as he arrived at the far post.

Captain Hai and midfielder Duc told reporters that Vietnam would definitely win if the two teams meet again in the future.

“I am proud of my team and want to say thanks to (more than 10,000) supporters. I am surprised because so many people came to encourage us. Hope they will follow us in the next matches,” coach Hoang Anh Tuan said after the match.

On the other side, coach Darren Bazely of New Zealand said he was disappointed but one point was a good start for his team. He said he was not surprised by how good the Vietnamese players were as they have good technique.

Assessing the match, New Zealand’s Stuff e-newspaper wrote New Zealand have made a disappointing start to the FIFA U-20 World Cup in the Republic of Korea, drawing 0-0 with Vietnam in their tournament opener on Monday night (Tuesday NZ time).

The result means they will likely need a win in their second match, against Honduras on May 25, if they are to repeat their historic performance from two years ago and advance to the round of 16.

Vietnam were making their tournament debut, and after a strong first half, when they deserved to go ahead, they faded towards the end, said the Stuff.

New Zealand's best chance for a winner came midway through the second half, when Wellington Phoenix striker Logan Rogerson, after coming on as a substitute, had a sharp shot saved.

It was one of few the New Zealanders mustered, and Vietnam missed a golden opportunity to win the game late on themselves, when Hoang Duc Nguyen couldn't connect with the goal at his mercy.

The two sides had near-identical numbers of shots (Vietnam 17, New Zealand 15), but the Vietnamese did get more of theirs on target (seven to three).

In the other opening match in Group E, France, tournament favourites, had a 3-0 win over Honduras.

U20 Vietnam will meet their French and Honduras rivals in the two remaining matches in Group E.-VNA