ASEAN's next generation primed to shine
Kuala Lumpur: Indonesia can expect a stiff challenge in their defence of the AFF U-15 Championship title when the 2019 edition kicks off in Chonburi, Thailand on Saturday.
Indonesia edged Thailand on penalties to seal the 2018 crown on home soil, a triumph which sparked a run into the quarter-finals of the 2018 AFC U-16 Championship, but will face no shortage of challengers in their bid to defend the AFF U-15 Championship title.
Drawn in Group A, Indonesia will have to battle past Myanmar, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Singapore and Philippines to seal a place in the semi-finals.
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Myanmar finished fourth in 2018 while Vietnam - if the recent form of their other teams is any indication - will also fancy their chances of a semi-final spot.
Timor-Leste, Singapore and the Philippines can also not be discounted, especially as all the teams will be using the AFF U-15 Championship to finetune their preparations ahead of the 2020 AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers in September.
Group B also promises top quality action with Thailand facing Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei Darussalam and Australia.
Thailand are the early favourites but Malaysia, boosted after winning the Haikou International Youth Championship in China on Monday, will be determined to better their third-placed finish last year.
Australia will also be challengers while Laos, Cambodia and Brunei will be out to impress as well, setting the stage for an exciting Group B.
AFF U15 Boys' Championship 2019 - Match Coordination Meeting pic.twitter.com/lPSqrdGdlK— ASEAN Football (@AFFPresse) July 26, 2019
Group A: Indonesia, Myanmar, Vietnam, Timor-Leste, Singapore, Philippines
Group B: Thailand, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia, Brunei and Australia
Fixtures (all times local)
July 27: Vietnam v Indonesia (15.00); Timor-Leste v Philippines (15.30); Myanmar v Singapore (18.00)
July 28: Malaysia v Brunei Darussalam (15.00); Cambodia v Australia (15.30); Laos v Thailand (18.00)
July 29: Indonesia v Singapore (15.00); Myanmar v Timor-Leste (15.30); Vietnam v Philippines (18.00)
July 30: Thailand v Brunei Darussalam (18.00); Malaysia v Cambodia (15.30); Laos v Australia (15.00)
July 31: Indonesia v Timor-Leste (15.00); Singapore v Vietnam (15.30); Philippines v Myanmar (18.00)
August 1: Australia v Malaysia (15.00); Brunei Darussalam v Laos (15.30); Thailand v Cambodia (18.00)
August 2: Timor-Leste v Singapore (18.00); Philippines v Indonesia (15.00); Myanmar v Vietnam (15.30)
August 3: Cambodia v Brunei Darussalam (15.00); Malaysia v Laos (15.30); Australia v Thailand (18.00)
August 4: Indonesia v Myanmar (15.00); Singapore v Philippines (15.30); Vietnam v Timor-Leste (18.00)
August 5: Brunei Darussalam v Australia (15.30); Laos v Cambodia (15.00); Thailand v Malaysia (18.00)
August 7: Semi-finals
August 9: Final, Third-place Playoff