The 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup draw threw up a nightmare path for former champions Singapore, being grouped with heated rivals Malaysia and regional powerhouse Indonesia. Rounding up the four-team Group B will be the second best-placed team from the qualifiers.
Singapore and Malaysia played out a largely one-sided two-leg friendly affair only earlier in June with the Tigers claiming a decisive 2-0 victory in Kuala Lumpur after an entertaining draw at Jalan Besar Stadium in the first leg.
Malaysia, incidentally, are also the defending champions and in being grouped with Indonesia, it will mark the first time in the competition’s history that the two finalists from the previous edition will face each other before the knockout stages.
The draw for this year’s AFF Cup was held in Bangkok, Thailand at the Golden Tulip Sovereign Hotel in front of a packed room of dignitaries and media, including several members of Goal.com’s South East Asian team.
The first stage of the draw was to determine the fixtures for the qualifying stages which will be held from October 5 to 13. The five teams entered in to the draw were Myanmar, Timor Leste, Brunei, Laos and Cambodia with all matches being staged in Yangon’s Youth Training Centre, in a single round-robin group format that will see the two top placed teams progressing to the main competition.
Singapore and Philippines were placed in Pot 3 in a new seeding format derived from the performances of the teams at the previous two editions of the competition. The semi-final defeat to Vietnam in 2008 and shock group stage exit in 2010 worked in Singapore’s disfavour as the record title holders were ranked joint fourth with Thailand.
Pot 1, meanwhile, was reserved for hosts Indonesia and Malaysia, and Vietnam, as the top ranked team, together with Indonesia, were placed in Pot 2.
With the hosts only being drawn last, there was a collective cheer from the predominantly Thai media present after the former champions were placed in Group A, the perceivably easier group featuring Vietnam, Philippines and the top placed qualifier.
Singapore will open their campaign on the second day of competition on November 25 against Malaysia. The two-legged final will take place on December 19 and 22.
Fans can look forward to unrivalled in-depth coverage of the competition on Goal.com Singapore.
5 Oct Cambodia vs Timor Leste
5 Oct Myanmar vs Brunei
7 Oct Timor Leste vs Myanmar
7 Oct Laos vs Cambodia
9 Oct Cambodia vs Brunei
9 Oct Timor Leste vs Laos
11 Oct Brunei vs Laos
11 Oct Myanmar vs Cambodia
13 Oct Laos vs Myanmar
13 Oct Brunei vs Timor Leste
24 Nov Vietnam vs Qualifiers - Winners
24 Nov Thailand vs Philippines
25 Nov Indonesia vs Qualifiers - Runners-up
25 Nov Malaysia vs Singapore
27 Nov Vietnam vs Philippines
27 Nov Qualifiers - Winners vs Thailand
28 Nov Indonesia vs Singapore
28 Nov Qualifiers - Runners-up vs Malaysia
30 Nov Philippines vs Qualifiers - Winners
30 Nov Thailand vs Vietnam
1 Dec Singapore vs Qualifiers - Runners-up
1 Dec Malaysia vs Indonesia
8 Dec SF1
Lg1 Runners-up A vs Winner B
9 Dec SF2
Lg1 Runners-up B vs Winner A
12 Dec SF1
Lg2 Winner B vs Runners-up A
13 Dec SF2
Lg2 Winner A vs Runners-up B
19 Dec Final
Lg1 Winner SF1 vs Winner SF2
22 Dec Final
Lg2 Winner SF2 vs Winner SF1