Ultimately, it was not meant to be for Vietnam and their beloved outgoing coach Park Grasp-seo.
Whereas the Golden Star Warriors have been hoping to present Park one closing hurrah on the 2022 AFF Championship, a 1-0 loss to Thailand in Monday’s second leg of the decider finally noticed them succumb 3-2 on combination and narrowly miss out on a second title underneath the South Korean.
So typically a fiery determine on the touchline, along with his passionate behaviour adored by the Vietnamese followers however deemed villainous by opposition supporters, there was no such outburst of emotion from Park when the ultimate whistle went at Thammasat Stadium.
There was no want for any.
There aren’t any extra assignments for Park, a minimum of with Vietnam. There isn’t a AFC Asian Cup or FIFA World Cup Asian qualifiers for him to show his consideration to. And even the subsequent AFF Championship or Southeast Asian (SEA) Video games.
So as a substitute, it was the faintest trace of a contented smile that Park allowed himself.
His work is finished, and what an almighty job he did since taking on in the midst of 2017.
Nonetheless, because the Park period ends, a brand new chapter begins for Vietnam — so the place do they go from right here?
The rapid job is to discover a successor able to filling his sneakers and it’ll not be simple.
In any case, Park departs as probably the most profitable coach in Vietnamese soccer historical past, with an AFF crown and back-to-back SEA Video games gold medals merely the tip of the iceberg with regards to his achievements over the previous five-and-a-half years.
A quarterfinal look on the Asian Cup, a fourth-place end on the Asian Video games, and the third and closing spherical of Asian qualifiers for the World Cup have been all territories beforehand unchartered till Park got here alongside.
Having been within the doldrums for a lot too lengthy earlier than he was handed the reins, Vietnam at the moment are not simply real powerhouses of the area, however a rising drive on the continental stage too.
They will in poor health afford to regress sooner or later, each rapid and long-term, particularly with the subsequent Asian Cup on the horizon.
The principle constructive for Vietnam is that they continue to be a hugely-talented outfit, and that won’t change whatever the man in cost.
They’re now seasoned campaigners however are but to achieve their peak and may nonetheless enhance additional, and the truth that they need to be round for the perfect a part of the subsequent decade bodes nicely for Vietnamese soccer.
From the 23-man squad that featured on the 2022 AFF Championship, solely veteran playmaker Nguyen Van Quyet and back-up goalkeeper Tran Nguyen Manh have been over the age of 30, with stalwarts Do Hung Dung, Que Ngoc Hai and Dang Van Lam the subsequent oldest at 29.
Personnel won’t be a difficulty, though the type of star man Quang Hai — who has simple expertise however has arguably had two sub-par AFF campaigns after successful the Most Invaluable Participant of their 2018 triumph — should be addressed.
Personnel won’t be a difficulty. As an alternative, type might be.
For all his successes, Park did have his justifiable share of critics focusing on his perceived overly-conservative strategy.
He all the time set his workforce out to be disciplined and onerous to interrupt down at first, and that usually got here on the expense of displaying real endeavour going ahead.
That was high quality within the preliminary levels and when Vietnam have been up in opposition to stronger opposition, however the identical strategy in matches they have been anticipated to win — particularly as soon as they’d emerged as a drive to be reckoned with — did have the propensity to frustrate.
If Vietnam are to take the subsequent step ahead, their incoming coach should look to not simply comprise continental powerhouses like Japan and Saudi Arabia — as Park did in the latest World Cup qualifiers — however look to take the sport to such opponents.
The secret is to construct on the superb work that Park has executed and implement contemporary concepts, with evolution — slightly than revolution — wanted right here.
If such a successor will be discovered, then Vietnam might simply be persevering with on an upward trajectory from right here.
However Park has definitely set a gloriously excessive bar for whoever comes after him.