|Vietnam's Deputy PM Vu Duc Dam reads the names of U23 football team players at My Dinh National Stadium on January 27, 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Ngoc Thanh
The deputy Prime Minister had joined 40,000 Vietnamese fans to watch the live broadcast at My Dinh National Stadium, despite the rain in Hanoi.
He went on to read the names of every football player in the team, which has become the source of national pride after it broke one record after another, marking the first time a Southeast Asian team qualified to the semifinal, let alone of finishing second in the championship.
Deputy Prime Minister Dam previously took to the streets on January 23 when Vietnam won the semifinal against Qatar, surprising many fans around Hoan Kiem Lake. He wore red and waved the national flag alongside the mostly young crowd.
He once emphasized that Vietnamese football should be "beautiful, honest and precise", meaning players need to be trained not only on strategy but also morality, culture, health and fitness.
Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh also cried out "Vietnam still wins", as he expressed great respect for the team.
"Competing in two hours with such strength is already amazing. It's beyond the physical strength of the Vietnamese players. Congratulations to the Vietnam U23! It's already a success that we won second place. Vietnam still wins!," said Deputy PM Minh after the end of the match.
Deputy Prime Minister Minh and officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs watched the live broadcast of the game from the ministry's new office on Le Quang Dao Street. Most officials wore red and brought national flags to cheer on the team.
"I was really touched and felt a sense of pride and respect towards the national team who were very calm and resilient in such weather," said Deputy Prime Minister Minh after the first half.
It was snowing throughout the match and Vietnamese had never played under such conditions before.
Many fans could not help being disappointed as Uzbekistan scored the victorious goal at the last minute of the game during extra time.
Vietnam's President Tran Dai Quang signed on Janaury 26 a decision to grant the first-class Labor Order to the entire U23 team, a third-class Labor Order to goalkeeper Bui Tien Dung and midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai for their excellent contributions to the 2018 U23 Asian Cup Championship in China.
Korean coach Park Hang-seo was also awarded with a third-grade Labor Order.
Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc also applauded the entire U23 team, including not only the players but also the coach, the technical director, the translator, and the doctor of the team.
Prime Minister Phuc previously congratulated them on the win against Qatar in the semifinal and after defeating many other strong contenders in previous rounds like Iraq and Australia.