FIFA World Cup trophy to visit Vietnam

Vietnamese football fans will have a chance to see the 2014 World Cup trophy on January 1 in Hanoi.

The capital city is one of the stopovers the trophy will make during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour.

Every four years before the World Cup, the trophy is taken on a world tour by Coca Cola, one of the official sponsors of the sports event. This time, the trophy started its journey from the well-known Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro on September 12. It will travel to 88 countries and territories and cover 150,000 kilometres in 267 days, more than three times the circumference of the Earth, before returning to the host country, Brazil.

Currently in India, this is the third world tour of the trophy, the world's most coveted symbol of football. The first tour was in 2006.

The organisers of the event will hold many activities and performances during the day at the QuanNgua Sport Palace.

During the exhibition, fans will get a chance to enjoy a rare up-close view of the original trophy. They will also have an opportunity to be photographed with the trophy, view a special hologram animation that showcases memorable moments of the FIFA World Cup and participate in interactive displays and other entertainment.

Fuleco, the official mascot of the Brazil World Cup, will also be accompanying the trophy.
Southeast Asia has long stood on the periphery of world football and often sidelined for its inability to compete for a place on the world's biggest football stage. At present, a Southeast Asian nation is yet to qualify for the global football event.

However, renowned football expert Mike Wong told Viet Nam News in September that he has seen the positive progress regional football has made in recent years. He has urged Southeast Asian countries to develop a long term strategic plan if they are to realise ambitions of qualifying the World Cup.

"We are making strides towards the bigger boys in Asia. But I still feel we have a long way to go before we talk about the World Cup," the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) instructor said, adding that one Southeast Asian club had reached the quarterfinals of the AFC Champions League this year.

On FIFA's newest ranking table, Vietnam's national men's football team jumped fourteen places, finishing at 144th. This new ranking comes as a bit of a surprise, since Vietnam did not show well in the Asian Qualifying Round matches in November when it lost its fourth and fifth matches of the Group E to be rooted at the bottom of the group without a single point.

In other Southeast Asian rankings, Thailand fell four places to the 146th position, and Singapore gained four places, moving up to 149th place.

Meanwhile, Vietnam's national women's football team remained in 28th place, as well as first place in Southeast Asia.

Thailand ranked 32ndto remain second in the region.

VNA/VOV online