Vietnam coach Phan Thanh Hung has revealed his relief at avoiding the "group of death" following the draw for the 2012 AFF Cup on Wednesday.
The 2008 AFF Cup winners were pooled in Group A alongside 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,” Hung said.
Hung, who has been in charge of Vietnam national team since June, rated hosts Thailand as the group favourites and insisted 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,” he said.
“Philippines has called up many foreign-born players recently. Their national team has turned into a completely different one. Therefore, we must be careful."
He added: “In coming time, we are going to keep close watch on their moves such as which players are called up, where they are from and their strength and weakness.”
In preparation for the AFF Cup, Vietnam have lined up two friendlies against Indonesia in September. A friendly tournament involving Turkmenistan, DPR Korea, Iran's Olympic team and hosts Vietnam has also been scheduled in October.