The group stage draw saw AFF Suzuki Cup 2008 winners Vietnam pooled in group A with hosts Thailand, previous semi-finalists Philippines and the winner of qualifying round.
“It’s a relief when Vietnam was not placed in group B, which is ‘group of death’ in my view. However, we must not be complacent,” commented head coach Phan Thanh Hung.
Thanh Hung, who has been in charge of Vietnam national team since June, rated hosts Thailand as group favourite and insisted that the Philippines are a big threat.
“Despite underperforming in recent years, Thailand are always a strong team with many quality players. It’s no doubt they are favourite to win the group on their home soil.
“Philippines have called up many foreign-born players recently. Their national team has turned into a completely different one. Therefore, we must be careful,” Hung warned.
“In coming time, we are going to keep a close watch on their moves such as which players are called up, where they are from and their strength and weakness."
In preparation for AFF Suzuki Cup 2012, Vietnam have lined up two friendlies against Indonesia in September. A friendly tournament involving Turkmenistan, DPR Korea, the Iranian Olympic team and hosts Vietnam has also been scheduled in October.