Vietnam’s 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifier against Thailand on Wednesday might’ve ended in a goalless draw, but the off-field drama that followed was far from the dull stalemate both teams played out across the 90 minutes.
Upon the final whistle, Vietnam Coach Park Hang Seo strolled towards his Japanese counterpart and Thailand gaffer, Akira Nishino for the customary post-match handshake. However, much to the South Korean’s surprise, he was seemingly ridiculed by Thailand’s assistant Coach Sasa Vesna Todic about his relatively smaller physical demeanour.
According to Vietnamese daily Zing.vn, the Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) have lodged an official complaint to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) regarding the Serbian’s action on November 19. In a public statement, VFF Vice Chairman Tran Quoc Tuan said, “We have sent an official petition to the Asian Football Federation (AFC) on the behaviour of assistant Sasa Vesna Todic of the Thai team against Coach Park Hang-seo.”
A relatively distraught Park Hang-seo also had his say post-match at the My Dinh stadium, he said, “During the course of the direction, I saw that he occasionally smiled at me. If he likes to fight, I’m ready.”
Todic’s reaction has not only left Vietnamese fans fuming but also created confusion within the Thai camp.
Vietnam currently top Group G with 11 points in 5 games, along with notable higher-ranked scalps including the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Thailand sit third with 8 points, only one point behind ASEAN rivals Malaysia. The top two will qualify for the next round of the 2022 AFC FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.