Viet Nam's footballers yesterday avoided being drawn in the ‘dead group' at the coming 26th Southeast Asian Games in Jarkata, Indonesia.
As favourites of Group B, the national U-23 team will compete against the Philippines, Myanmar, East Timor, Brunei and Laos.
Group A, in turn, will consist of defending champions and favourites Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, including its host of international players, and underdogs Cambodia.
"While Viet Nam, the highest FIFA ranked team at the event, is set to advance without much opposition, nothing comes for free," said football expert Nguyen Van Vinh, backed up by Ha Noi coach Nguyen Thanh Vinh who added that the semi-final stage would be the most difficult.
As the runner-up team from the last Games, Viet Nam has also been seeded second at this year's tournament.
During the groups stages, the country's toughest challenge is set to be Myanmar, who it beat 5-0 during the first match of the VFF-Eximbank Cup in Ha Noi on Wednesday.
The two sides will meet again on November 5, two days before the opening match of the SEA Games.
Only five women's teams from Viet Nam, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines are set to compete at the event.
Games organisers have additionally set up a futsal (indoor football) event on Wednesday in which Viet Nam will play the Philippines and Indonesia in Group A while Thailand, Malaysia and Myanmar battle it out in Group B. — VNS