Vietnam beat Thailand 3-2 on aggregate in the Final of the AFF Suzuki Cup (formerly the Tiger Cup and the ASEAN Football Championship).
The second leg played in Hanoi on Sunday ended in a 1-1 draw. Vietnam had won the first leg in Bangkok 2-1 on Christmas eve.
No South-East Asian country currently ranks in the top 100. Thailand are the highest ranked, with Singapore ranked 132nd, and Indonesia 139th.
The remaining South-East Asian nations all rank outside the top 150:
- Myanmar & Malaysia – joint 156th
- Philippines – 160th
- Laos – 169th
- Cambodia – 178th
- Brunei – 181st
- Timor-Leste – 197th
Thailand and Indonesia were both within the top 100 a year earlier.
If you click on the name of each country on the FIFA rankings page, you will see a “Ranking Evolution” chart from 1993 onwards. Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia are all near historical lows.
South-East Asian football is falling further behind the rest of the world, despite, or perhaps because of, the popularity of the English Premier League – there are too many people in this part of the world who would rather watch football than play.