Southeast Asia’s top two ranked nations will do battle in an epic semi-final showdown as Vietnam and Thailand clash at Singapore’s National Stadium on Thursday.

Vietnam coach Park Hang-seo was full of respect for his opponent in the build-up although he challenged Thailand to try and find a way to break down a defence that didn’t concede a single goal in the group stage.

“Thailand is always a leading contender to win the Suzuki Cup, they’re a strong team with high quality and whilst we need to find solutions to try and score against them they also must find a way to score against us," said the Korean. 

Park also touched on the fact that the Thailand coach, Alexandre Polking, has experience coaching at club level in Vietnam, where he was previously in charge of Ho Chi Minh City FC, declaring it has little relevance to this game.

“We have no need to worry about that as it’s in the past but, whilst he might understand the Vietnamese players, we also understand the characteristics of the Thailand team because we’ve played against them many times.”

They were thoughts echoed by Polking, who also argued that Vietnam have had a clear advantage over other nations at the tournament.

“I don’t think my spell was long enough but I certainly saw how hard the players work and I know the qualities that they have," said the Brazilian tactician. 

“With the COVID situation, though, it means that they had five months together and that’s an incredible situation that has allowed them to test every system and every player.”

Touching on the pressure that both nations face, Polking also said he sees no reason to step away from the team’s attacking philosophy.

“They are the defending champions and we have the most titles of any nation so there is big pressure on both countries and I’m sure it will be a very exciting match between two good teams.

“We expect to have the ball for longer periods and for Vietnam to defend well but we will continue to play attacking football, whilst being careful in transition, because this is what works well with the players that we have.”