The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has named the opening Group D clash between Vietnam and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) (Matchday 1, January 10) among the five most must see matches in the group stage of the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand.

Vietnam midfielder Nguyen Quang Hai (R) and teammates are among the title favourites at the 2020 AFC U23 Championship in Thailand.

In an article published on its website today (January 7), the AFC hailed Vietnam U23s as one of the odds-on favourites to claim the trophy this year.

"Unlike 2018, Vietnam will go into this campaign among the favourites and, up against the United Arab Emirates in their first game, it will be interesting to see how Nguyen Quang Hai and co. deal with the added pressure,” the article said.

They stated that the Golden Stars have been riding a purple patch since their historic runner-up finish in Changzhou, China, two years ago, winning the 2018 AFF Championship, reaching the last eight of the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, and currently sitting on top of their group in the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Asian Qualifiers.

The article touched upon the UAE’s 0-1 defeat against Vietnam in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers last November, stating that following the teams’ constant success over recent times, Vietnamese football is increasingly affirming themselves as a real powerhouse.

Alongside the Vietnam-UAE clash in Group D, the AFC also voted four other matches to look out for at Thailand 2020, including Thailand-Bahrain (Group A, Matchday 1, January 8), China-Uzbekistan (Group C, Matchday 2, January 12), Qatar-Japan (Group B, Matchday 3, January 15) and Uzbekistan-Republic of Korea (Group C, Matchday 3, January 15).

Source: NDO

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