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Anticipation high for AFF Suzuki Cup draw

All eyes will be on Hanoi on September 15 for the eagerly awaited draw of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, the premier football event in South-East Asia.

The only certainty is that holders Vietnam and Indonesia will head the two groups as co-hosts of the first round matches from December 1-8.

Three-time winners Thailand, Singapore - back-to-back champions in 2004 and 2007 as well as in 1998 - Malaysia and Myanmar will be drawn into either of the two groups.

Two spots will be left for the first and second-placed teams from the qualifying tournament involving hosts Laos, Brunei, Cambodia, Philippines and Timor Leste on October 22-30. Laos and Cambodia were the two qualifiers in 2008.

Group A comprised Singapore, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia and Group B Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia and Laos at the last edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

Vietnam lifted the trophy for the first time in the history of the tournament with a 3-2 aggregate victory (2-1, 1-1) over Thailand in the two-leg final. Superstar striker Le Cong Vinh grabbed the goal that sent the nation into raptures in the third minute of added time.

The group matches in December will be staged at the My Dinh Stadium and Hang Day Stadium in Hanoi and the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium and the Jalak Harupat Stadium in Jakarta.

The 40,000-capacity My Dinh Stadium hosted the second leg of the final in 2008 while the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium, which can hold 87,000 spectators, was the venue for the Asian Cup final between Iraq and Saudi Arabia in 2007.

After the group matches, the top two teams in each pool will progress to the two-leg semis to be staged home and away on December 15 and 16 and December 18 and 19. The first leg of the final will be on December 26 with the finale three days later.

The draw on September 15 will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Hanoi.