THE Philippines faces some of its stiffest rivals in the Southeast Asian region once again as it is grouped with Thailand and Singapore in Group A of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 happening on Dec. 5, 2021 to Jan. 1, 2022.
The Philippines, Thailand and Singapore will be joined by Myanmar and the winner of the qualifying round match between Brunei Darussalam and Timor-Leste.
The Philippines was grouped with five-time AFF Suzuki Cup titleholder Thailand and four-time AFF Suzuki Cup winner Singapore in the 2018 tournament. The Philippines beat Singapore, 1-0, and drew with Thailand, 1-1.
The Azkals and Thailand went on to the semi-finals but got knocked out by Malaysia and Vietnam, respectively.
Thailand is currently the highest rated Southeast Asian country by the AFC at No. 8. The Philippines is ranked 18th, Singapore is 23rd, Myanmar is 28th, Brunei Darussalam is 43rd and Timor-Leste is 44th.
“We wish the Philippine Men’s National Team all the best in the upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 later this year,” said Philippine Football Federation (PFF) president Mariano Araneta Jr. in a report at the official PFF website. “It will be an interesting competition being held in the midst of the pandemic. Nonetheless, we request all Filipino football fans to rally around our team in its bid to be champion of Southeast Asia’s most prestigious football competition, which had a television audience of almost 200 million during the 2018 edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup.”
The Philippines just ended its campaign in the 2022 FIFA World Cup and went 1-1-1 (win-loss-draw) in 2021. The Azkals lost to China, 2-0; beat Guam, 3-0; and drew Maldives, 1-1.