13 November 2014

Guide to the 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup

The 2014 AFF Suzuki Cup kicks off on the 22nd of November when the Philippines play against qualifier Laos in the opening match to be played at the Mỹ Đình National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam. The two nations are bracketed in Group A of the elimination round with Indonesia and host nation Vietnam.

Group B action begins the following day when 2010 Suzuki Cup champions Malaysia take on qualifier Myanmar at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore. Thailand and host team Singapore complete the group.

The Philippines arrive as the highest ranked team in Southeast Asia according to the last ranking released by FIFA on 23 October 2014. The ranking will not be updated until 27 November 2014, the day before the last round of 2014 Suzuki Cup group matches are to be played.

It is something of a curiosity that champions and runners-up of the last Suzuki Cup played in 2012 are the lowest ranked teams among the eight nations participating. Defending champions Singapore are at 161 and have not been convincing against lightweight opponents in friendly internationals played earlier in the year.

Thailand, which defeated the Philippines earlier this month, is the lowest ranked team of the 8-team tournament at 165. That this ranking is something of an anomaly was something that the Philippines quickly learned in Bangkok, where they were comprehensively beaten 3-nil last Sunday. The truth is that Thailand’s lowly ranking is a result of the country being very sparing in the international matches that it has played.

Vietnam comes to the tournament having defeated Bahrain 3-nil at home last October; but this match is not considered an official international. In July, Vietnam defeated the Philippines’ Peace Cup tormentor Myanmar 6-nil in a friendly.

Both Indonesia and Thailand managed to grind out creditable draws against two of the continent’s elite teams. The Indonesians managed a 2-all draw away to 88th ranked Qatar in an international friendly last July; while Thailand drew at home in another friendly against 120th ranked Kuwait last May.

Form-wise based on the last 5 internationals played, Myanmar arrives at the 2014 Suzuki Cup as the hottest team with 4 wins and a draw. Three of the wins, however, came at the expense of lowly-ranked teams in the qualifying round for the Suzuki Cup tournament proper.

Vietnam comes in next in the form guide with 4 wins and a loss. Significantly, the loss came just last Sunday, a 1-3 home reversal to Palestine, the same team that narrowly defeated the Philippines to claim the Challenge Cup but lost horrendously to Myanmar in the Philippine Peace Cup just last September.

GROUPS AND SCHEDULE OF MATCHES:

GROUP A (to be played in Hanoi)
Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Vietnam

MATCHES: (in PHL time)
22 November 2014
17:00 Philippines v Laos Mỹ Đình National Stadium, Hanoi
20:00 Vietnam v Indonesia Mỹ Đình National Stadium, Hanoi

25 November 2014
17:00 Philippines v Indonesia Mỹ Đình National Stadium, Hanoi
20:00 Laos v Vietnam Mỹ Đình National Stadium, Hanoi

28 November 2014
20:00 Indonesia v Laos Hàng Đẫy Stadium, Hanoi
20:00 Vietnam v Philippines Mỹ Đình National Stadium, Hanoi

GROUP B (to be played in Singapore)
Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand

MATCHES: (in PHL time)
23 November 2014
17:00 Malaysia v Myanmar Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
20:00 Singapore v Thailand National Stadium, Kallang

26 November 2014
17:00 Malaysia v Thailand Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
20:00 Myanmar v Singapore National Stadium, Kallang

29 November 2014
20:00 Thailand v Myanmar Jalan Besar Stadium, Singapore
20:00 Singapore v Malaysia National Stadium, Kallang

FIFA RANKINGS AND RECENT FORM:

Philippines
FIFA Ranking: 129
Form in Recent Internationals: W-L-W-W-L
9 November 2014: Thailand 3 Philippines 0 (Friendly)
31 October 2014: Philippines 3 Nepal 0 (Friendly, played in Doha)
12 October 2014: Philippines 5 Papua New Guinea 0 (Friendly)
6 September 2014: Philippines 2 Myanmar 3 (Peace Cup)
3 September 2014: Philippines 5 Chinese-Taipei 1 (Peace Cup)

Vietnam
FIFA Ranking: 136
Form in Recent Internationals: W-W-W-W-L
9 November 2014: Vietnam 1 Palestine 3 (Friendly)
28 October 2014: Vietnam 3 Bahrain 0 (Unofficial Friendly)
6 September 2014: Vietnam 3 Hong Kong 1 (Friendly)
2 July 2014: Vietnam 6 Myanmar 0 (Friendly)
5 March 2014: Vietnam 3 Hong Kong 1 (Asian Cup)

Myanmar
FIFA Ranking: 137
Form in Recent Internationals: W-D-W-W-W
20 October 2014: Laos 1 Myanmar 2 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
18 October 2014: Cambodia 0 Myanmar 1 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
16 October 2014: Brunei 1 Myanmar 3 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
14 October 2014: Timor Leste 0 Myanmar 0 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
6 September 2014: Philippines 2 Myanmar 3 (Peace Cup)

Laos
FIFA Ranking: 154
Form in in Recent Internationals: D-W-W-W-L
20 October 2014: Laos 1 Myanmar 2 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
18 October 2014: Laos 2 Timor Leste 0 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
14 October 2014: Laos 4 Brunei 2 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
12 October 2014: Laos 3 Cambodia 2 (AFF Suzuki Cup qualification)
24 May 2014: Afghanistan 0 Laos 0 (Challenge Cup)

Malaysia
FIFA Ranking: 156
Form in Recent Internationals: L-D-L-L-W
20 September 2014: Malaysia 4 Cambodia 1 (Friendly)
14 September 2014: Indonesia 2 Malaysia 0 (Friendly)
8 August 2014: Tajikistan 4 Malaysia 1 (Friendly)
27 April 2014: Philippines 0 Malaysia 0 (Friendly)
5 March 2014: Yemen 1 Malaysia 2 (Asian Cup)

Indonesia
FIFA Ranking: 157
Form in Recent Internationals: D-D-W-W-W
11 November 2014: Indonesia 4 Timor Leste 0 (Friendly)
25 September 2014: Indonesia 1 Cambodia 0 (Friendly)
14 September 2014: Indonesia 2 Malaysia 0 (Friendly)
9 September 2014: Indonesia 0 Yemen 0
14 July 2014: Qatar 2 Indonesia 2 (Friendly)

Singapore
FIFA Ranking: 161
Form in Recent Internationals: W-D-L-D-L
7 November 2014: Bahrain 2 Singapore 0 (Friendly)
14 October 2014: Macau 2 Singapore 2 (Friendly)
10 October 2014: Hong Kong 2 Singapore 1 (Friendly)
9 September 2014: Singapore 0 Hong Kong 0 (Friendly)
6 September 2014: Singapore 2 Papua New Guinea 1 (Friendly)

Thailand:
FIFA Ranking: 165
Form in Recent Internationals: L-L-D-L-W
9 November 2014: Thailand 3 Philippines 0 (Friendly)
10 October 2014: China 3 Thailand 0 (Friendly)
25 May 2014: Thailand 1 Kuwait 1 (Friendly)
5 March 2014: Thailand 2 Lebanon 5 (Asian Cup)
19 October 2013: Kuwait 3 Thailand 1 (Asian Cup)

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