Champs or chumps? Assessing every team's Suzuki Cup hopes

The 2016 AFF Suzuki Cup is almost here and the predictions are coming thick and fast. So FourFourTwo has come up with reasons why each of the eight competing teams may be lifting the trophy next month – and why they may not.

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Group A


For: The reigning champions are the favourites and the best team going into the tournament. For the past year, Thailand have been playing at a higher level than all of their regional rivals. Then there is talent such as Chanathip Songkrasin and Sarach Yooyen and confidence the trophy will come to Bangkok for a record fifth time.

Against: This week’s draw with Australia will have helped, but the long run of defeats against the big boys in Asia prior to that could have impacted the team's morale and belief. There has also been a lack of football since the death of King Bhumibol and it remains to be seen how that affects the team.

The draw with Australia should've given Thailand a boost


For: The Azkals may not have won this tournament yet, but with three straight semi-final appearances, there is a solid foundation. Throw in home advantage, some of the region's best midfielders and attackers, increasing confidence after some impressive results and a desire to go all the way to the final and these are real contenders.

Against: In the past, the Philippines had built their success on the foundation of a rock-solid defence, but time has caught up with the central defensive pair of Rob Gier and Juan Luis Guirado.

The Azkals have more firepower, but it remains to be seen how they fare at the back – and how they deal with the pressure of being among the favourites.


For: There is a complete lack of pressure and expectation as the team emerges from the year ban imposed by FIFA. Despite an 18-month break from the international game, Merah Putih have enjoyed themselves since with a memorable 3-0 win over Malaysia and then credible draws with Myanmar and Vietnam.

Against: There had been problems even before the ban was imposed back in May 2015. And the lack of action since means that it has been difficult for the coach to put a team and a squad together.

The Indonesians are largely an unknown quantity


For: Singapore can never be ruled out of this competition. The team has experience all through the ranks, with the defence bolstered by the return of veteran centre-back Daniel Bennett. Hariss Harun in the middle helps to direct proceedings and there is a real determination to get to the final.

Against: Results and performances have been mixed in recent years. While Singapore have solidity at the back, there are big concerns over where the goals are going to come from. Had the Lions been in the other group, there would be far more optimism.

[NEXT: All the Group B teams, including Malaysia and tournament fancies Vietnam]