Tournament History

The AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 lived up to its reputation of showcasing the beautiful game, producing intense and inspiring theatre and taking over the lives of sports fans for a month.

The top eight national teams in ASEAN paraded their talent in 18 action-packed games that featured 65 goals (17 more than during the 2012 edition), ranging from expertly taken free kicks to net-bulging pile drivers.

Passionate supporters in their hundreds of thousands followed the action at the stadia, with near capacity crowds at the spanking new National Stadium in Singapore and full houses at Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium, Rajamangala Stadium in Bangkok and the cavernous Bukit Jalil National Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.

A total of more than 135,000 fans attended the two legs of the final in Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur alone and the tournament as a whole commanded a television audience in the tens of millions, with matches broadcast live throughout ASEAN and beyond.

The official website - www.affsuzukicup.com - and its associated Facebook page had garnered an astonishing 963,168 likes by the time the competition reached its climax and newspapers and social networks were abuzz with stories and tidbits.

For the first time, organisers set up a Live Public Viewing site with a large screen in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. It attracted a total of 40,000 fans, 23,000 of whom watched the final Group A game between Vietnam and the Philippines.

Everyone from pre-schoolers to Prime Ministers seemed to have a view on how the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 was unfolding and the sitting PM’s of finalists Thailand and Malaysia both congratulated their national teams on reaching the showdown.

Thailand were crowned kings of ASEAN football for a record-equalling fourth time - their other triumphs came in 1996, 2000 and 2002 - thanks to a 4-3 aggregate victory (2-0, 2-3) over 2010 champions Malaysia in the thrilling two-legged final and they were given an amazing reception on their return to Bangkok.

Underscoring the importance of the AFF Suzuki Cup to competing nations, the War Elephants were feted as they made their way aboard an open-top bus from the Don Muang airport to the National Stadium at Supachalasai through streets lined by flag-waving, chanting supporters.

Thailand’s Chanathip Songkrasin, who beguiled with his mazy dribbling and pinpoint passing and found the net twice, including the goal that sealed Thailand’s overall victory in the final, was deservedly named Most Valuable Player of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014.

Malaysia midfielder Safiq Rahman was top scorer in the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 with six goals - five of which came from set pieces (four penalties and a free kick) - and his name was added to an illustrious roll of honour that includes Thailand striker Teerasil Dangda (five goals in the 2012 tournament), Malaysia’s Safee Sali (five goals in 2010) and Bambang Pamungkas of Indonesia (eight goals in 2002).

The 65 goals scored at AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 underlined the attacking intent of the competing nations and the achievement of Safiq, captain of Malaysia’s 2010-winning side, showed the importance of established stars to the success of the competition while Chanathip’s MVP award hailed the arrival of an extra-special talent.

The inaugural tournament in Singapore in 1996 proved to be an unforgettable two-week football spectacle, which drew large crowds to the National Stadium with millions more tuning in on television.

Favourites Thailand lifted the trophy after defeating Malaysia 1-0 in a hard-fought final. The foundation had been set for an exciting competition that would continue to grab the attention of fans throughout Southeast Asia.

The passion was even more apparent two years later when the tournament was played in Vietnam. Riding on a wave of national euphoria the hosts swept all before them, trouncing champions Thailand 3-0 to reach the final. The title was to elude Vietnam, though, as they went down 1-0 to unfancied Singapore in the final in one of the competition’s biggest shocks to date.

Thailand reasserted their dominance when they hosted the event for the first time in 2000. With star striker Kiatisuk ‘Zico’ Senamuang in inspired form, the Thais powered their way to the title, comfortably winning all five games. In the final at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium, a hat-trick by Worrawoot Srimaka led the Thais to a decisive 4-1 win over Indonesia.

The 2002 tournament was more closely contested with the Thais just scraping into the semi-finals after losing 3-1 to Malaysia and drawing 1-1 with Singapore in the group stage. Thailand took a 2-0 half-time lead over hosts Indonesia in the final at the Gelora Bungkarno Stadium in Jakarta. However, the Indonesians battled back to level the score and force the game to a penalty shootout, which Thailand won 4-2.

In their bid for a third straight title in 2004, Thailand fielded the so-called ‘Young Bloods’ but the gamble of relying on youth failed to pay off and the defending champions were eliminated in the group stage in Malaysia. Co-hosts Vietnam also failed to reach the semis that matched Singapore with Myanmar while Malaysia took on Indonesia.

Singapore and Indonesia won through to a dramatic two-legged final with Singapore clinching their second title 5-2 on aggregate (3-1, 2-1) with a couple of top-drawer performances.

Singapore, guided by inspirational coach Radojko Avramovic, retained the title in dramatic fashion in early 2007 edging Thailand 3-2 on aggregate in the final.

In 2008, Vietnam tore up the script as they overcame raging favourites Thailand to lift the AFF Suzuki Cup for the first time in their history after a dramatic denouement to an enthralling tournament. With three minutes of added time gone in Hanoi’s My Dinh Stadium, Vietnam’s superstar striker Le Cong Vinh sealed the title with a nod of his highly prized head to send the nation into a frenzy.

The golden goal from the golden boy earned Vietnam a 1-1 draw with Thailand on the night and a 3-2 aggregate victory after their surprise win in the first leg of the final in Bangkok.

A youthful Malaysia side were the success story of AFF Suzuki Cup 2010. After their best ever campaign, highlighted by a 2-0 win over Vietnam in the first leg of the semi-final, they beat Indonesia 4-2 on aggregate in the two-legged final to spark an outpouring of joy across a country starved of football success.

Two years later, Singapore were crowned kings of ASEAN football for a record fourth time thanks to a 3-2 aggregate victory over Thailand in the thrilling two-legged final and they were given a huge reception on their return to the Lion City.
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