ASEAN teams’ ratings in the recently concluded Asian Games

With the AFF Suzuki Cup just looming around the corner, Southeast Asian teams who participated and excelled in the Asian Games might just got the much-needed upper hand against their opposition heading into the November’s spectacle across the region.ย 

Apart from the international friendlies that Southeast Asian nations get to enjoy to prepare for the upcoming regional tournament, seven of the 11 participating countries made it to the Asian Games and some of them got a very positive result and experience in the said tournament. We look at how these seven nations performed in the games.

Laos

Considered as one of the dark horses of this year’s Suzuki Cup, Laos came into the Asian games with one goal in mind, earn the much-needed experience for their upcoming battle in the regional tournament which will begin its group stages in November. Reason why they need this experience is that they are grouped with powerhouses Malaysia and Asian Games 2018 semifinalists Vietnam.

Laos didn’t make it to the next stages of the Asian Games as they finished fourth with a win and three defeats. Despite their fourth place finish, they didn’t disappoint in their performance as they were not pummeled by a lot of goals. Their opening game against Hong Kong was a testament of their grit and perseverance as they managed to squeeze one past a much higher ranking nation than them.

They almost won against a bigger opposition in Palestine as they’ve scored the opener on the 14th minute of the match, held the Palestinians at bay for 83 minutes before conceding two late goals. They would then fall to neighbors Indonesia three goals to nil before ending the tournament on a high note.

In their final match, they faced Chinese Taipei and won against the opposition via two goals to nil. Their run in the Asian Games might’ve ended but they ended it with some convincing result. If they follow this performance up with quality friendly matches, they might produce a shock in November.

Rating: 4.5

Indonesia

The tournament hosts didn’t disappoint their home crowd as they finished the group at the top with three wins in the bag, and scoring 11 goals in the group stages. They’ve impressed us with a strong defence having only conceded three goals in the entire group stages.

Merah Putih showed their dominance in their first match against Chinese Taipei scoring four goals to nil against the opposition. Their main man Stefano Lilipaly went off to a flying start having scored two goals in the second half of the match.

They might’ve experienced a stumble against a gritty Palestine, two goals to one, but they still managed to assert their finesse against Laos. They won the game as easy as one, two, three with Alberto Da Costa scoring one in the first half and another one in the second half.

They closed out their group stage on a high as well as they won three goals to one against Hong Kong. Heading into the round of 16, Indonesia was a force to be reckoned with until they faced 2019 AFC Asian Cup hosts United Arab Emirates. UAE scored, drawing first blood on the 20th minute through Zayed Alameri before conceding the equaliser on the 52nd minute courtesy of Beto. Alameri put the Arabs ahead but Lilipaly cancelled it out at the death of the second half.

After 30 minutes of extra time, the winners were still not decided so they went onto the dreaded penalties. Misses from David Maulana and Saddil Ramdani showed them the exit doors of the tournament but after all, it was still a great run from Merah Putih. This gave them a good feel of the team heading into Suzuki Cup and gave them more time for preparations, adjustments and improvements.

Rating: 6.5

Thailand

Ranking at 122 in the FIFA World Rankings, the War Elephants were expected to make it past the group stages but what happened was the total opposite. Although they were grouped with higher ranking nations Uzbekistan and Qatar, their distance from Thailand was not that far and they were expected as well to sneak in at least a win against either one of them.

Thailand opened their Asian Games campaign against Qatar. It was an early shock for the War Elephants as they conceded a goal from Hazem Shehata on the sixth minute of the match. They were chasing the Qataris in the entire match until a late goal on the 92nd minute by Supachai Chaided helped Thailand share points with Qatar.

Up came Bangladesh for their second match in the group stages. They were supposed to win this game but in the contrary, just like what happened in their first match, they conceded the first goal as Bangladesh scored through Mahbubur Rahman on the 52nd minute. If not for another Chaided equaliser, they might’ve been shown the exit doors this early in the tournament.

Hoping to make a surprise win and go through to the knockouts, Thailand came into their match against Uzbekistan with only one goal in mind, to win. All was good in the first 10 minutes of the match for the War Elephants but the White Wolves scored on the 17th minute just as Thailand were just starting in their offence. Zabikhillo Urinboev’s strike proved to be enough as Thailand failed to get the equaliser and the go-ahead goal, leading to their exit in the tournament.

It might be strange but we are not used to seeing Thailand not win a game in the group stages of any tournament considering the firepower behind their squad, regardless if it’s their U-23 or the senior team. If this is the form that they will be having towards the Suzuki Cup, we might see a new nation lift the coveted silverware.

Rating: 4.0

Timor Leste

As one of the teams going into the qualifying rounds of the Suzuki Cup, Timor Leste needed this experience towards their journey to the group stages of the said biennial tournament. The only downside to this experience is that they were grouped with the giants China, United Arab Emirates and Syria

With the group they were given in the Asian Games, they only goal that they have is to not get pummeled and try to sneak in at least a draw. Despite their efforts, China brought them to reality as they rallied six past Timor Leste. Their second match was a bit promising when they faced UAE.

In that match, UAE scored four past The Little Samba Nation. Despite the scoreline, Timor Leste exerted all of their efforts and they managed to score one on the 87th minute through Walter Gama. Hoping get at least a draw or even a surprise win, Timor Leste came in to the third match with a more aggressive approach.

They were able to get a goal on the 15th minute of the match against Syria through Gama before conceding two goals in the first half courtesy of Zakira Hannan on the 33rd minute and Abdulhadi Shalha on the 42nd minute. Timor Leste tried to hold on to that draw but the Syrians had a different idea. On the 50th minute of the match, Mohammed Kamel Koaeh scored followed by Shalha on the 54th minute. Silveiro da Silva Garcia scored what could be the consolation goal before they conceded the hat-trick from Shalha on the 91st minute.

It seemed as though this outing dampened the spirit of Timor Leste but they’ve proved everyone wrong in the first leg of their AFF Suzuki Cup qualifying match against Brunei. Despite losing in the Asian Games, they won against Brunei three goals to one in the AFF Suzuki Cup qualifiers, gaining the all important advantage going to their second leg encounter (which is yet to be played as of this writing).

Rating: 3.5

Myanmar

Another one grouped with Malaysia and Vietnam, the Burmese squad came into the Asian Games with a much bigger sight of making it into the knockout stages of the tournament considering the broad talent their youngsters have. They opened their campaign with a well-deserved draw against DPR Korea.

Myanmar got the edge against DPR Korea on the 44th minute of their match through Maung Maung Lwin before conceding the equaliser from Jang Kuk-Chol on the 60th minute. It seemed to be a dream start from Myanmar only to find themselves being dragged back to reality by a dominating Saudi Arabia.

The 2018 World Cup participants gave a three-nil beating to Myanmar as goals from Abdulrahman Ghareeb and Mutib Albanaqi went past the Burmese. Despite the result, they still had enough in their arsenal to shock AFC’s #1 ranked nation Iran.

Facing Iran is already an achievement for Myanmar but there’s something more to this game that we can look into further. Myanmar was on the verge of reaching the knockouts had they won three goals to nil against Iran and hope that DPR Korea and Saudi Arabia end in a draw.

The impossible started to come true, it seemed, for Myanmar on the 56th minute when Moe Lwin Aung scored which was then followed by Phyoe Htet Wai on the 68th minute. The only unfortunate thing was that they lacked a goal and DPR Korea won against Saudi Arabia three goals to nil.

Still, it was an amazing run for Myanmar heading into the Suzuki Cup proving that they’re no longer whipping boys of Southeast Asia and are ready to challenge the powerhouses in the region. Should they be able to retain this form, they are in for a tasty affair against the rest of group A come November.

Rating: 6.0

Malaysia

The Harimau Malaya are raring to go in the Suzuki Cup but their Asian Games performance was a testament of things to expect from the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup Champions. Finishing the group in first place where they were grouped with Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan and eventual gold medalists South Korea, Malaysia did very well playing in their rival nation’s territory.

The opening game saw Malaysia win against Kyrgyzstan three goals to one. Goals from Safawi Rasid, Akhyar Abdul Rashid and Syafiq Ahmad proved to be the difference in this match for the Malaysians. They produced a much bigger and stunning result in their second match.

As they faced South Korea, little chance was given to them considering the squad they are playing with has Heung-Min Son. Rasid made his name stand out against the much bigger opposition as his brace helped his side win and book a slot to the round of 16. Despite conceding a late goal in the 87th minute through South Korea’s Ui Jo Hwang, it was still a performance to remember for the Malayan Tigers.

Although they lost their final group stage match against Bahrain, they almost came close to a clean slate heading into the round of 16. Safari scored the opener on the 20th minute of the match before conceding two goals in a span of four minutes courtesy of Bahrain’s Hamad Alshaman and Mohamed Hardan.ย Malaysia held Bahrain at bay until the last minute of the match where Hardan scored the winning goal. Rasid tried to bring the Malaysians back to life but time was not enough for them to salvage a point.

In the round of 16, they faced 2018 World Cup Round of 16 participants Japan who went on to face South Korea in the gold medal match. Malaysia worked so hard that they were able to hold Blue Samurais until the last minute of the match. Ayase Ueda scored the winning goal for Japan on the 90th minute of the match. Had they been held by Malaysia until the final whistle, it could’ve been Malaysia reaching the final.

Rating: 7.5

Vietnam

With a lot of promise in a young squad like Vietnam whose U-23 went on two win second place in the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship against Uzbekistan, the Golden Dragons proved why against all odds, they made it to the final of the AFC U-23 championship.

They finished first in the group stages with a perfect slate winning three games out of three without conceding any goals. They opened their campaign with a three-nil win over Pakistan with goals coming from Nguyen Quang Hai, Nguyen van Quyet and Nguyen Cong Phuong.

They then went on to win two-nil against Nepal through the help of Nguyen Anh Duc and Phan van Duc before squaring off with eventual finalists Japan. Vietnam managed to shock Japan as they won through a solitary goal from Nguyen Quang Hai on the third minute of the match.

What was a bit more shocking was looking into the statistics of that match, Vietnam shot the ball six times more than the Japanese side. They also controlled the possession 64% of the time, a real testament that Vietnam’s consistency in their youth program really is paying off.

In the Round of 16, Vietnam faced Syria whom they defeated through a goal in extra time courtesy of Nguyen Van Toan before squaring off against South Korea in the semis. With fatigue creeping in, Vietnam lost the match against South Korea but was still strong enough to will themselves to score one. Tran Minh Vuong tried to revive their hopes of making it to the final but South Korea was just strong enough to hold them off after scoring three past them.

Nevertheless, Vietnam got the highest rating among the Southeast Asian nations who participated in the Asian games and this will be a big boost to their bid in the AFF Suzuki Cup. The 2008 champions are looking to bring the trophy back to Hanoi.

Rating: 8.5

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