At the end of 26 matches and almost six weeks of football, Vietnam were crowned 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup champions and, as expected, there are several Golden Stars that feature in our Best XI.

The quartet of players from the champions is matched by runners-up Malaysia with both fallen semifinalists each contributing a player to the team as well one standout player from a nation that didn’t quite reach the final four.

GOALKEEPER: Dang Van Lam (Vietnam) – One of the finds of the tournament who proved incredibly tough to beat in a stingy Vietnamese outfit and make some crucial, and brilliant – saves from dangerous one-on-one situations.


RIGHT BACK: Syahmi Safari (Malaysia) – A dependable force for an impressive Malaysian side whether playing as a traditional fullback or in a more advanced role, he was solid defensively as well being a threat going forward and scored a decisive – and spectacular – goal in the semifinals that helped send his nation through to the final.


CENTRAL DEFENCE: Tran Dinh Trong (Vietnam) – Playing as the central defender in the three-man backline that Vietnam deployed he was a standout, stout defensively and doing plenty of work off the ball to keep the team’s shape intact.


CENTRAL DEFENCE: Alvaro Silva (Philippines) – The veteran defender was a rock at the back for the Azkals, constantly snuffing out dangerous attacking moments, whilst also being composed in playing out from the back.


LEFT BACK: Doan Van Hau (Vietnam) – One of the standout players in any position, the dynamic left-sided fullback was brilliant at both ends of the pitch, constantly dealing with opposition attacks whilst also leading the charge going forward for the champions.


CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Nguyen Quang Hai (Vietnam) – The exceptional playmaking talent drifted between more advanced and deeper roles and was a star in either position.


CENTRAL MIDFIELD: Hlaing Bo Bo (Myanmar) – A standout for a Myanmar side that only missed making the last four by a fine margin. Was an ideal link between attack and defence and with a strong technical base and high work-rate it was a coming-of-age tournament for the 22-year-old midfielder.


RIGHT WINGER: Mohamadou Sumareh (Malaysia) – The hidden gem of the 2018 tournament who didn’t even have a cap to his name a month before things began but by the end of the six weeks his lighting quick pace, willingness to run at defenders and overall threat was a highlight of this new-look Harimau Malaya outfit.


ATTACKING MIDFIELD: Sanrawat Dechmitr (Thailand) – One of the few standouts for the defending champions and if it hadn’t have been for his consistent positivity and danger in the final third, Thailand may not have even reached the semis.


LEFT WINGER: Safawi Rasid (Malaysia) – Along with Sumareh, the attacking starlet was a key part of this impressive Malaysian side with his movement and vision, not to mention a potent threat from dead-ball situations.


FORWARD: Norshahrul Idlan (Malaysia) – In a packed field it’s hard to choose just one contender for the lone start in our Best XI but for his efforts both on and off the ball it’s hard to go past the Malaysian veteran who was a standout performer and constant threat on the ball and an incredibly tough worker off it.