I couldn’t give a monkey’s!

Vietnam coach Alfred Riedl’s response to being called a national hero is brutally honest: “I couldn’t give a monkey’s!”

The Austrian was a little over 10 minutes away from going down in Vietnamese folklore before Qatar rescued a 1-1 draw in Thursday’s Asian Cup Group B game in Hanoi.

Co-hosts Vietnam, playing in the tournament for the first time in 47 years, lead the group on four points after the draw and their 2-0 upset of United Arab Emirates in their opening match.

But Riedl refuses point-blank to buy into the hysteria — even if they go on to clinch an historic spot in the last eight.

“I couldn’t give a monkey’s whether I become a national hero or not,” the 47-year-old told Reuters in an interview on Friday.

“It’s completely silly. My players went to the limit last night. They showed no fear against a physically stronger side and played through cramp. I’m proud of them for that.”

Riedl added: “You don’t factor in things like being a national hero as a coach. You just do your job and hope things go well. Yesterday we got a good point against a stronger team.”

Vietnam are making their first appearance in the Asian Cup since a side from the south of the country lost all three games in the 1960 competition.


Riedl’s assessment of their chances of progressing to the quarter-finals for the first time was typically frank.

“Put it this way: I don’t expect us to thrash Japan on Monday!” smiled Riedl, who is in his third spell as coach of the Southeast Asian nation.

“You have to assume we’ll lose. We will do everything to try to get a result but it might not be enough.”

By Riedl’s calculations Vietnam would still have a decent chance of advancing even if they fail to secure another surprise result against holders Japan, who play UAE later on Friday.

“Our chances look alright — if Qatar don’t beat UAE (on Monday). I don’t expect UAE to beat Japan tonight because Japan need to win after drawing their first game.

“If Japan win today and if Qatar don’t win on Monday, then everything is fine.”

Riedl’s young Vietnam side have been a revelation at the Asian Cup, which the country is staging jointly with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. A pinch of luck has not hurt either.

“Qatar had to take risks and threw everything at us in the last 20 minutes,” Riedl said.

“We were lucky only to concede one. But we dug in and worked hard for our luck.

“You’re talking about players who in the (Vietnamese) V-League play like they’re on the streets. We ran out of steam at the end but the players gave absolutely everything.

“They broke the pain barrier for Vietnam and were rewarded with a result yesterday — maybe we will have the same luck against Japan!”



13 Responses

  1. Fortunately “he couldn’t give a monkeys”! If he gave a monkey, he would have made many vietnamese fans “silly donkeys”!

    A national hero is someone who makes the life of his/her compatriotes better or (ideally) the future of the country (as a whole) brighter. Not just a shot to pump up “some fans”‘s adrenaline for few days. A soccer game is enough to show the world what VN is? How sad!

    Riedle is clever enough to say so in response to “so dumb” vietnamese media.

  2. Tuyen: VN chac khong vao duoc vong 2 roi.

  3. Vietnamese teams always wish for magic to be successful. I’m so sick of it. They now rely on luck in order to go further in the competition!

  4. I didn’t know what is “to not give a monkey” so I googled it and found

    not give a monkey’s (British & Australian, informal):
    if you do not give a monkey’s about something, you do not care about it at all.
    Ex: She couldn’t give a monkey’s if everyone’s talking about her. I don’t give a monkey’s how much he earns, I just don’t like him. (often + question word)

    However I couldn’t catch thay Dung’s joke about “not give a monkey” and “silly donkeys” (well I guess it was some kind of joke) Could you explain it to me pls ^_^

  5. @MA:

    It’s not a joke 🙂 They just rhyme with each other. I was thinking of “Ngu nhu lua”. If he cared about the hero title “awarded” by the media then many silly vietnameses (or donkeys) would believe that soccer was a way to make the country respected by others. That’s sad! Instead of pouring a lot of money into that thing, we could have well spent it in education (which is being in crisis).

    A shot in the arm is sometimes needed but don’t make it our long term vitamine.

    The San Antonio Spurs (basketball) win the championship again this year. San Antonionians were excited but they have many other things to talk about. The Spurs are heroes to some people but not national heroes!

    Coach Riedl did his job so that he deserved his salary. That’s simple.

  6. “I couldn’t give a monkey’s whether I become a national hero or not,” = “Thành anh hùng dân tộc cái con khỉ khô gì chứ!” 🙂

  7. OK, I get it now. Thank you to you two ^^

  8. And yeah, I agree with your point, thầy Dũng.
    Even for this soccer game, some people just “nói phóng đại” everything (I don’t know which word to use here 😀 ) and make it seem like our team are much stronger, whereas we win last time because the other team lost so many of their main players.

  9. I am a soccer fan too (not as much as I was before because there are also other interesting sports played in the US) and I am happy to see the VN team advance and get better. However I don’t like the way the news make it into a big thing like. It shows that we don’t have much to to be proud of? I may sound like a nerd? 🙂

    @Long: I like your translation. If Riedl lived in VN long enough, he would have said:

    “I couldn’t give a dried monkey’s …” = “… con khỉ khô …”


    “I couldn’t give a windy (?) monkey’s …” = “… con khỉ gio’ …”


  10. phrases having the same meaning:
    not give a stuff/toss/monkey’s/f…/sh..
    (source: http://www.peevish.co.uk/slang/n.htm)
    not care/give a sod (UK OFFENSIVE)
    not care/give a fig (OLD-FASHIONED)
    not give a tinker’s cuss UK AND AUSTRALIAN ENGLISH (US not give a tinker’s damn) OLD-FASHIONED INFORMAL

  11. @ anh Dũng: Technically, we have to ask whether “con khỉ khô” is “a dried monkey” or “a dry monkey”. The first one means someone/something dries the monkey, where the second one means the monkey is just simply dry. Similar question can be asked with “con khỉ gió”, whether it’s “a windy monkey” or “a monkey of wind”,… or “a wind monkey” 🙂 .
    @ anh Luân: In “Gone with the wind”, one of the most famous quote is the one Rhett Butler said to Scarlet O’Hara: “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn”. I think it has the same meaning with the phrases you gave. I once said it to a Vietnamese, and he got upset, maybe because he didn’t know the meaning of it, and all he cared was the word “damn” 🙂 .

  12. Dịch thô từ Vdict.com:

    I couldn’t give a monkey’s –> Tôi đã không thể cho Một con khỉ

    I couldn’t give a dried/dry monkey’s …–> Tôi đã không thể cho một con khỉ đã sấy/khô

    I couldn’t give a windy/wind monkey’s —>Tôi đã không thể cho một con khỉ có gió/gió

    not give a stuff –>không phải đưa cho một vật

    not care/give a sod –> không phải sự quan tâm/ đưa một đám cỏ

    not give a toss/monkey’s/f…/sh.. –> không phải đưa cho một ném/ khỉ / l.. t../ c..

    Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn–> Thành thật tôi thân mến, tôi không cho một lời nguyền rủa


  13. =))

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