Vietnam will officially kick-start their title defense journey at the delayed 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup against Laos at Bishan Stadium in Singapore at 7:30 pm on Monday in their group-stage opener.
The game will be broadcast live on Vietnam Television’s VTV5, VTV6, and OnSports channels.
Considered the tournament favorites, Vietnam are expected to claim a victory on Monday night over the Lao team, who have made rapid progress and are aiming to spring a surprise or two at the tourney.
Before the Vietnam - Laos matchup, Cambodia will play Malaysia at 4:30 pm the same day.
The AFF Championship is a biennial association football competition held by the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) and contested by the men’s national teams of its member associations, except Australia.
The latest edition of the tournament, the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup, was originally planned to take place at the end of last year, but it was pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Organizers decided to maintain the name 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup as they rescheduled the tournament to December 5, 2021-January 1, 2022.
The contestants have been divided into two groups.
The reigning champions, Vietnam, who claimed a 3-2 aggregate triumph over Malaysia in the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup finale, have been drawn in Group B alongside Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Laos.
Group A includes Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, and Timor Leste.
Singapore acting as the single host country of the tournament is the only change forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, in contrast to the 2018 version when games took place in all participating countries.
The main competition format remains the same, with each team playing four fixtures in a round-robin system during the group stage while the two semifinals and final will be two-legged games.
Hosts Singapore saw off Myanmar 3-0 at the National Stadium, while Thailand beat Timor Leste 2-0 in Group A on Sunday night.