Malaysia to meet familiar foes Vietnam, Thailand at AFC U-23 Asian Cup

Familiar foes Malaysia and Vietnam -- along with fellow Southeast Asian outfit Thailand -- will all face off against one another again at the AFC U-23 Championship after being drawn together in Group C. Yong Teck Lim/Getty Images

Malaysia are set for a reunion with both Vietnam and Thailand at June's AFC U-23 Asian Cup after being pitted against their regional rivals following Thursday's group-stage draw.

The trio, Southeast Asia's three representatives at the tournament, was drawn together in Group C, which already promises to serve up some tantalising encounters given the other team completing the quartet are defending champions South Korea.

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Given their geographical proximity, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand regularly face off across all age categories with their most recent encounters coming at senior level at last year's AFF Suzuki Cup 2020 -- Southeast Asian football's premier tournament.

On that occasion, Vietnam defeated Malaysia 3-0 in the group stage but were then defeated over two legs in the semifinals by Thailand, who went on to claim a record-extending 6th AFF crown.

All three teams were also in the same group, alongside another ASEAN team in Indonesia, in the second round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

The AFC U-23 Asian Cup, previously known as the AFC U-23 Championship, will hold its fifth edition from June 1 to 19 in Uzbekistan, with all four former champions competing.

Hosts Uzbekistan, who beat Vietnam to win the trophy in 2018, will meet Iran, Qatar and Turkmenistan in Group A, while inaugural champions Iraq take on Australia, Jordan and Kuwait in Group B.

Meanwhile, 2016 winners Japan are set to take on Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Tajikistan in Group D.