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Vietnam to play Thailand in first King’s Cup game

17:10 | 13/05/2019

Vietnam to play Thailand in first King’s Cup game

Full-back Doan Van Hau (red jersey) in the thrashing 4-0 victory of Vietnam against Thailand in U23 AFC qualifiers. Photo by VnExpress/Lam Thoa

Hosts Thailand fill face regional rival Vietnam in the first match of the 47th King’s Cup in Buriram next month.

Under draw results announced Wednesday, Vietnam will face the hosts Thailand while India will take on Curaçao. The Vietnam match will kick off on June 5 at 3:30 p.m. and the other at 7:45 p.m. (local time).

Previously, Vietnam (rank 98) was scheduled to face Curacao (rank 82) and Thailand (rank 114) was set to play India (rank 101). Under original King’s Cup rules, two teams with higher FIFA rankings and two with lower ranks would play each other.

But hosts Thailand changed the tournament regulation this year to play games based on drawn fixtures.

Winners of both matches will meet in the final on June 8, while the two eliminated teams will play a third place playoff on the same day. All four matches will take place in the northeastern province of Buriram, Thailand.

There have been several changes made to King’s Cup 2019. China was in the original line up, but withdrew and El Salvador took the spot. However, due to scheduling conflicts, El Salvador could not participate and was replaced by Curaçao.

Founded in 1968, King’s Cup is one of the oldest tournaments held by Thailand. The competition has featured many national football teams, notably Brazil in 1999. The current champion is Slovakia, who won King’s Cup 2018.

Vietnam competed in King’s Cup 2006 and lost 1-3 to Thailand in the final.

Thailand used to be considered the strongest football country in Southeast Asia. However, in the past two years, under coach Park Hang-seo’s lead, Vietnam has taken over the number one spot of the region as they achieved success in many tournaments. Vietnam finished as the runner-up of 2018 U23 AFC Championship, fourth in Asian Games 2018, claimed the title of AFF Cup in the same year and reached the quarterfinals of Asian Cup 2019.

On March 26, the U23 team of Vietnam beat Thailand 4-0 to qualify for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship. At the U19 level, Vietnam also beat Thailand 1-0 to lift the International U19 title on March 30.

The success of Vietnamese football in recent times is one of the reasons that Thailand invited it to play in the King’s Cup 2019. The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) accepted the invitation after turning it down twice.

Coach Park has said he considered King’s Cup a great chance for Vietnam to compete and prepare for World Cup 2022 qualification round in November.

The national football team of Vietnam will gather on June 1 and go to Thailand a day later. The U23 team will train in Hanoi under the supervision of Park’s new assistant Kim Han-yoon. The team will play a friendly with Myanmar on June 7.

The national football team for King’s Cup 2019 and the U23 team will be announced in the third week of May.