When Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam last featured together at the AFC Asian Cup in 2007

Indra Putra Mahayuddin scored a consolation in Malaysia's 5-1 loss to China PR, which would prove to be their only goal in a disappointing 2007 AFC Asian Cup campaign. TENGKU BAHAR/AFP via Getty Images

On Tuesday, with Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia all sealing qualification for AFC Asian Cup 2023, and with Vietnam already through from the previous round, it guaranteed the Southeast Asian quartet's combined participation in next year's tournament for the first time in 16 years since they co-hosted it.

- 15 years after co-hosting Asian Cup, ASEAN quartet return on merit
- Malaysia seal AFC Asian Cup return after 15-year absence
- Indonesia qualify for first AFC Asian Cup since 2007

The 2007 Asian Cup was a landmark occasion on several counts, including the fact that it was the first time that the continent's premier international tournament was played across multiple host venues.

Four editions on, the four ASEAN hopefuls will once again grace the big stage having gotten there on their own merit this time, but how did they fare back in 2007?


With Bangkok hosting Group A, Thailand found themselves with some tough tests having been pitted against Iraq -- who would ultimately go on to win the tournament -- and new boys Australia, who were making their Asian Cup debut after joining the Asian Football Confederation a year earlier.

It took the Thais just six minutes to score the first goal of the tournament through a Sutee Suksomkit penalty, although Iraq eventually hit back to force a 1-1 draw.

A 2-0 win over Oman -- courtesy of a Pipat Thonkanya second-half brace -- followed to ensure the co-hosts headed into their final tie firmly in the running to qualify for the quarterfinals.

Nonetheless, they were just no match for an Australia outfit boasting the likes of Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka, with the Socceroos turning up the heat late on with three goals in the final ten minutes en route to a 4-0 triumph.

In what proved to be a keenly-contested group, Iraq would advance as Group A winners on five points while Thailand finished only a point behind and level with second-placed Australia -- only to be heartbreakingly eliminated by an inferior head-to-head record.


Few would have optimistic over Vietnam's Group B prospects considering the quality of opposition they were up against, but they gave themselves every chance of advancing with an opening 2-0 win over United Arab Emirates in Hanoi.

A 1-1 draw with Qatar in their second game meant that, like Thailand, they too headed into their final match with a healthy four-point haul but coming up against formidable opposition in the form of defending champions Japan.

Despite falling to a 4-1 loss after taking an early lead, UAE and Qatar's inferior results would pave the way for the Vietnamese to march on into the quarters.

There, they would come up against an Iraq outfit who were firmly on the charge and it would prove to be the furthest Vietnam would go, as they were downed by a doble from the iconic Younis Mahmoud -- who went on to become the tournament's Most Valuable Player and joint-top scorer.

Still, it was a fine achievement for Vietnam as they were the only ones out of the Southeast Asian quartet to progress out of the group stage -- a feat that was famously emulated by the current generation back in 2019.


While Malaysia are currently looking to make a resurgence under new coach Kim Pan-gon following some difficult times, their recent troubles pale in comparison to their displays at the 2007 Asian Cup.

Despite the excitement of a first appearance since 1980 and the tournament being jointly held in Kuala Lumpur, there was already plenty of dissatisfaction from the Harimau Malaya faithful at the Football Association of Malaysia in the build-up.

Those negative feelings would only be exacerbated as Malaysia fell to a 5-1 loss to China PR in their Group C opener, with an Indra Putra Mahayuddin goal the only consolation.

Another heavy defeat in their second game -- a 5-0 rout by Uzbekistan -- meant an early elimination, before they restored some pride with a more creditable showing in a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Iran in their final tie.

In all fairness, the quality of opposition meant that it was always going to be a Group of Death for Harimau Malaya, but their record of 12 goals conceded and just one scored from three straight defeats was still hugely disconcerting for their fans.


Finally, Jakarta would prove to be the battleground for much of the Group D action -- with the glorious Gelora Bung Karno also being selected as the venue for the final.

Never short of support from their vociferous faithful, Indonesia gave the 60,000 that turned up plenty to cheer with a 2-1 win over Bahrain in their campaign opener -- with goals coming from Budi Sudarsono and the legendary Bambang Pamungkas.

The Indonesians would back that display up with another impressive showing even if they would ultimately succumb to a 2-1 loss to continental powerhouses Saudi Arabia.

With everything on the line in their final Group D game, 88,000 would turn up at the Bung Karno to try to get the co-hosts over the line in another difficult encounter against South Korea.

In the end, it was not to be as Kim Jung-woo scored the only goal of the game in the 34th minute to hand South Korea -- who started the day bottom of the pile -- the crucial three points that they needed to leapfrog both Indonesia and Bahrain and into the runners-up spot that ensured progress into the knockout round.