HA NOI — Viet Nam have been drawn in Group A together with co-hosts Thailand for the upcoming ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup that starts in November.
They will also face the Philippines and an unknown rival who will be identified after the qualifying round in October.
In Group B, co-hosts Malaysia will compete against Indonesia, Singapore and another qualifying team.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals.
The draw looks favourable for Viet Nam, with their biggest challenge likely to come from Thailand, although the Philippines may also pose a threat having pulled off a shock 2-0 victory over them in the previous competition at My Dinh Stadium two years ago in Ha Noi.
The final round of the AFF Cup will be held in Malaysia and Thailand from November 24 to December 22, the semi-final and the final matches will be held over two legs.
From October 5 to 15, a qualifying round for teams from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Brunei and Timor Leste will be held in Myanmar, with the top two teams taking the final places.
The winners of the tournament will receive a prize of US$200,000, double that of previous years.
Nguyen Quoc Tuan, deputy chairman of the AFF's competition committee, said he had made the proposal to AFF chairman Sultan Haji Ahmad Shah in the hope of making the Cup more competitive.
Shah agreed that the amount should be raised to $200,000 for the winner, with the two runners-up receiving $75,000 and $50,000. — VNS