Despite having the home field advantage, Vietnam were defeated by a much stronger Japan side that gave the Golden Stars few opportunities to put the ball in the net.
The only goal of the game was scored in the 17th minute by Junya Ito, who tapped in from a pass from Liverpool striker Takumi Minamino.
In the 40th minute, Ito sprinted down the left flank and finished in the top corner of Vietnam’s net but referee Hassan Mohammed declared that the ball had touched another Japanese player who was offside, thus ruling out the goal, after a five-minute VAR review.
Vietnam boosted their offense with several substitutions in the second half, but failed to make any real progress.
The Golden Stars’ best chance came in the 89th minute when substitute Luong Xuan Truong, who replaced fellow Phan Van Duc, whipped a free-kick into the box, causing mayhem in the Japanese area.
However, Truong’s shot from a Thanh Chung pass sailed over the crossbar.
|Vietnamese and Japanese players battle for the ball in the final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers in Hanoi, November 11, 2021. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre
Keeper Bui Tan Truong and the entire defense line managed to block several strong attacks through the remainder of the game, keeping the score at 0-1 until the final whistle.
The defeat left the Golden Stars rooted to the bottom of Group B with zero points and miles away from what was always an unlikely trip to the 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar.
The Vietnamese will play Saudi Arabia in Hanoi next Tuesday – a rematch of Vietnam’s 1-3 loss in September to their Middle East opponents.
The final round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers is contested by two groups of six teams.
The top two teams from each group will qualify for next year’s tournament while the third-place teams will play for a spot via an inter-continental play-off.
This is the first time Vietnam have made it this far in the World Cup qualifiers.