Indonesia became the only South-East Asian team remaining at the AFC U16 Championships in Kuala Lumpur as neighbouring nations Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia all crashed out of the competition.
Going into this round of fixtures, Thailand looked likely to qualify for the knockout stage after a victory over Malaysia in their second game. However, a 2-1 loss to Tajikistan saw the Central Asian nation advance at their expense. Hosts Malaysia also failed to progress from Group A when they were beaten 2-0 by Japan.
After initial optimism, Vietnam’s campaign finished in disappointment as they ended the group stage with a solitary point. A 5-0 defeat to Iran on the final day sealed the side’s fate, with a poor performance possibly a result of the pressure to live up to the nation’s outstanding Olympic team, which finished fourth at the 2018 Asian Games.
Ultimately, these results leave Indonesia as the regions sole flag-bearers going into the next round .Despite only managing a draw in the final game against India defending AFF U16 Champions topped their group, and are now only one game away from qualifying for the U17 World Cup in Peru next year.