Vietnam is fastest-growing ASEAN side in FIFA rankings in last decade

Friday, 2020-01-03 10:42:11
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The Vietnamese national team are No. 1 in Southeast Asia and No. 14 in Asia. (Photo: Vietnam Football Federation)
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NDO – The Vietnam men’s national squad have advanced 43 places in the FIFA Rankings in the last decade, making them the best climber among Southeast Asian sides in the world rankings.

As reported by the local VTC News, ten years ago, in the FIFA rankings announced in December 2010, Vietnam ranked 137th in the world, behind regional rivals Thailand and Indonesia. After that, they were eliminated from the semi-finals of the 2010 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Cup, despite being the defending champions.

From 2011, Vietnamese football declined, with poor results in the AFF Cup, Southeast Asian (SEA) Games and the World Cup qualifiers. Under the guidance of both domestic and foreign coaches like Phan Thanh Hung, Hoang Van Phuc and Falko Goetz, Vietnam were still eliminated early in most tournaments they participated in.

In 2014, new coach Toshiya Miura helped Vietnam to advance in international tournaments for the first time, achieving a semi-final berth at the 2014 AFF Cup and a bronze medal at the 28th SEA Games in Singapore in 2015.

However, as the team did not play many friendly matches, along with their poor performance in the World Cup qualifiers, Vietnam dropped to 143rd in the world rankings in October 2015, behind Thailand, ASEAN’s No. 1 at that time, and the Philippines.

Vietnam are the top climbers among ASEAN sides in the FIFA Rankings for the last decade.

Before the arrival of current coach Park Hang-seo in September 2017, Vietnam ranked 130th in the world. The Korean strategist was tasked with bringing the national team into the Top 100, and he successfully completed his task, in only two years.

Vietnam are currently sitting at No. 94 in the world, No. 14 in Asia and No. 1 in Southeast Asia, up to 43 places in the FIFA rankings since 2010, leaving their regional rivals far behind.

Thailand, now the ASEAN’s No. 2 team with the world’s No. 113 ranking, moved up only eight places over the past ten years. Their best achievement was the berth at the final Asian qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup, where coach Kiatisuk Senamuang’s side drew two and lost eight games after 10 matches. Thailand gradually lost their top position in Southeast Asia as they were eliminated in the early stages in recent regional tournaments, such as at the 2019 SEA Games, only making the semi-finals at the 2018 AFF Cup, and are now ranked third in Group G of the current World Cup qualifiers, which also features Vietnam as the group leaders.

Vietnam are aiming for a higher rank in 2020. They are favourable to make history as reaching the final qualifying round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup for the first time ever. Star Quang Hai and his teammates are sitting atop of Group G with 11 points after five matches. They will next face Malaysia in their next game in March, aiming for a win to further progress in the qualifiers as well as in the FIFA rankings.