Vietnam told Japan are beatable ahead of quarterfinal clash

Vietnam beat Jordan in a penalty shootout to reach the quarterfinals. (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2019
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Vietnam told Japan are beatable ahead of quarterfinal clash

  • Luong Xuan Truong wants side to show spirit against four-time champions.
  • Japan have looked far from their impressive best so far in the UAE.

LONDON: Luong Xuan Truong has told his Vietnam teammates to forget about reputations and make history against Japan today.
Truong and Co. have guided the Golden Dragons to beyond the first knockout stage for the first time in the side’s history, a run that was not predicted before the first match.
But thanks to battling performances in the groups stage and a penalty shootout win over Jordan in the second round Vietnam have booked themselves a clash against four-time champions Japan.
It is much most, once again, expect them to lose, but Truong is confident that if they take the spirt which has seen them through the tournament so far into the match in Dubai, then anything is possible.
“We are very happy right because we made another piece of history for Vietnamese football,” the midfielder said.
“(The game against Jordan) was amazing.
“I hope we can keep playing in the same way against (Japan), and hope we can make more history for Vietnam.”
Another reason for Vietnam to go into the match confident has been the fact Japan have looked far from their impressive best. But they have looked solid — not a word that should define one of the pre-tournament favorites — and Vietnam will need a bit of luck in front of goal.
Japan’s win over Saudi Arabia came as a result of a strong defensive performance from a team yet to find its fluency in attack under coach Hajjime Moriyasu.
If that continues and Vietnam can keep their shape then who knows, it could come down to penalties again. If that is that is the case then Truong will have his fingers crossed.
“I think we can’t say anything about a penalty shootout, because we never know, before a game, what’s going to happen,” he said.
“We were luckier than Jordan, and I think that’s all it is.”


From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

Updated 25 April 2019
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From near-death in Libyan desert to Saudi Arabia in 40 years: A history of the Dakar Rally

  • Race will start in Jeddah and make a stop in Riyadh before ending in Qiddiya
  • Take a look back at the most momentous moments

LONDON: A new and exciting chapter in the prestigious history of the Dakar Rally is ready to be written as the world’s biggest and most challenging rally confirmed it will debut in Saudi Arabia in January 2020.

1977: Inspiration
Biker Thierry Sabine gets lost in the Libyan desert while competing in the Abidjan-Nice Rally. After being rescued from the sands on the verge of death, he vows to share the scale and magic of the desert with the whole world.

1978: A dream come true
On 26 December 1978, a field of 170 adventurers starts its 10,000-kilometer quest through Algeria, Niger, Mali, the Upper Volta, and Senegal. A total of 74 vehicles make it to the finish on Place de l’Indépendance in Dakar, with Cyril Neveu at the helm.

1983: Ickx on all fronts
Celebrities and the best drivers and riders in the world heed the call of the Dakar. The combination is a successful one, with the six-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans Jacky Ickx and comedian Claude Brasseur taking the spoils in the fourth edition.

1986: Tragedy strikes
Thierry Sabine and Daniel Balavoine die in a helicopter crash alongside pilot François-Xavier Bagnoud, journalist Nathalie Odent and radio technician Jean-Paul Lefur. Gilbert Sabine, the father of the creator of the race, takes over as director.

1992: Africa from north to south
The Dakar takes a break from the capital of Senegal to pit the competitors against the challenge of a lifetime. The drivers and riders have to tackle a route of almost 12,500 kilometers through 11 countries to cross Africa from one side to the other and reach Cape Town in South Africa. Stéphane Peterhansel (motorbikes) and Hubert Auriol (cars) stand atop the podium at the end of the Odyssey.

1998: Peterhansel rolls a six
The biker with a blue bandana emerges victorious from a clash of titans with Orioli and Arcarons to become the undisputed master of the category in the 1990s. His sixth win catapults him past Cyril Neveu as the event record holder. “Peter” has since added seven car victories to his tally!

2000: At the foot of the pyramids
The Dakar marks the turn of the century next to one of the seven wonders of the world: the Great Pyramid of Giza. Reigning champions Richard Sainct (motorbikes) and Jean-Louis Schlesser (cars) both manage to defend their titles against this prestigious backdrop.

2001: Miss Dakar
No one suspects that this will be the last Paris–Dakar. In contrast, everyone sees Jutta Kleinschmidt, who had made her Dakar debut in 1988 on a motorbike, become the first woman to win the rally, this time racing at the wheel of a Mitsubishi 4×4. She remains the only female winner of the event to date.

2009: Rising from the ashes in Buenos Aires
The Dakar picks itself up and crosses the Atlantic to rise from the ashes. A new era dawns with 4 million spectators turning out in force to cheer on the drivers and riders in the majestic landscapes of Argentina and Chile.

2012: Pacific Challenge
After three years with a route starting and ending in Buenos Aires, the organizers break the mold with a finish on the Pacific coast of Lima, Peru.

2014: Dizzying heights
Bolivia becomes the 28th country to host the Dakar. The Altiplano and Salar de Uyuni introduce a new test for the competitors: extreme altitude, which takes a toll on both their bodies and their machines.

2020: Chapter 3
In the wake of its first foray into Paraguay in 2017, the Dakar adds the 30th country to its list. In Saudi Arabia, the largest country on the Arabian Peninsula, the competitors will face challenges such as the “Empty Quarter,” a pristine expanse that has never been explored fully before.