Indonesia strongest Southeast Asian national football squad: CNN

By Hoang An   January 13, 2024 | 05:00 am PT
Indonesia strongest Southeast Asian national football squad: CNN
Indonesia defender Jordi Amat during a training session on Jan. 9, 2024. Photo by PSSI
The Indonesian national football team have the advantage over other Southeast Asian countries at the 2024 Asian Cup, especially in terms of squad power and preparation, according to CNN Indonesia.

Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia only played one friendly match each before the Asian Cup, while Indonesia played three, and they also got to train in Turkey. They lost all three matches, twice against Libya and once at the hands of Iran.

"However, Indonesia still have more strengths than the other three [Southeast Asian] teams, including the number of friendly matches played, which helped head coach Shin Tae-yong evaluate the squad better," CNN Indonesia wrote.

The news site pointed out that Vietnam and Thailand were not well prepared for the Asian Cup.

Vietnam only played one friendly match with Kyrgyzstan on Jan. 9, losing 1-2, while Thailand suffered a 0-5 defeat against Japan on Jan. 1.

"The two strongest teams in Southeast Asia are still finding balance under the new coaches," it added.

CNN Indonesia rated Malaysia higher as the team drew 2-2 with Syria in a friendly match on Jan. 9.

"Malaysia can compete with Bahrain, Jordan and even South Korea."

Indonesian media also said that coach Shin has the strongest possible squad, with no key players injured. Their physical condition is also the best among the four Southeast Asian teams at this Asian Cup. The reason is that Indonesia have many naturalized players, including defender Elkan Baggott, who is 1.94 m tall.

Vietnamese and Thai players are the shortest in the tournament, and many of their key players are absent. Vietnam head coach Philippe Troussier does not have goalkeeper Dang Van Lam, defenders Que Ngoc Hai, Doan Van Hau, Tran Dinh Trong and Bui Tien Dung, midfielder Nguyen Hoang Duc and striker Nguyen Tien Linh, all of whom are out due to injury.

Thailand coach Masatada Ishii was also unable to call up Teerasil Dangda, Chanathip Songkrasin and Manuel Bihr for the same reason, while midfielder Ekanit Panya withdrew from the team to be with his club in Japan.

The first Southeast Asian team to compete are Vietnam, with a game against Japan at 6:30 p.m. (Hanoi time) on Jan. 14.

A day later, Indonesia will play Iraq and Malaysia will meet Jordan. Thailand will play last, facing Kyrgyzstan on Jan. 16.

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