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Vietnam drawn in same group with regional rivals Thailand, Malaysia at AFC U23 Asian Cup

Vietnam will take on familiar rivals Thailand and Malaysia, as well as reigning champions Republic of Korea (RoK) in Group C of the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup, following the tournament’s finals draw in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on February 17.

This afternoon, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) conducted the draw for the 16 teams competing in the biennial tournament.

The 16 teams are divided into 4 groups of 4 teams, playing in a round-robin format to decide the top two teams in each group for the quarterfinals.

Vietnam, same group, regional rivals Thailand, AFC U23, Asian Cup, tournament’s finals draw, Asian Football Confederation

The finals draw for the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup.

2018 runners-up Vietnam will start this year’s campaign in Group C alongside their ASEAN rivals Thailand and Malaysia, as well as defending champions RoK, who defeated Saudi Arabia 1-0 in the 2020 final.

Group C promises to be an interesting one as the ASEAN trio are familiar to each other, making the capturing one among the two direct tickets to the knockout phase sure to be a fierce competition. The RoK are tipped to be the group winners and they are looking forward to defending the title they collected 2 years ago.

In the qualifying stage last year, Vietnam won all their three matches to top their group and easily secure a ticket to the finals. This was also the 4th time in a row that Vietnam booked a berth in the tournament. Their best achievement so far is second place in the 2018 edition after shocking the continent with an unprecedented journey to the final under coach Park Hang-seo.

To prepare for the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup, the Vietnam Football Federation has carefully planned, sending the team with a squad of mainly U21 players to attend the ongoing 2022 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) U23 Championship in Cambodia to discover new elements for the main squad.

They will next attend an international friendly tournament in the UAE, scheduled to take place in March with the presence of several strong Asian teams.

Before competing in the AFC U23 Asian Cup, Vietnam will also be trained at the 31st Southeast Asian Games, hosted by Vietnam this May.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2022 AFC U23 Asian Cup was rescheduled to June 1-19 in Uzbekistan. The fifth edition of the championship will be played in Central Asia for the first time, with Uzbekistan hosting 32 matches across the cities of Tashkent and Karshi.

Hosts Uzbekistan, the 2018 champions, will have Iran, Qatar and newcomers Turkmenistan to contend with in Group A.

Australia, third in the 2020 edition, were drawn in Group B with Jordan, Iraq and Kuwait while Japa, the 2016 champions, are in Group D with 2020 runners-up Saudi Arabia, UAE and debutants Tajikistan.

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Source: NDO/VNA

Vietnam, same group, regional rivals Thailand, AFC U23, Asian Cup, tournament’s finals draw, Asian Football Confederation
 
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