In the final of the 2022 ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup, Vietnam, led by South Korean coach Park Hang-seo (64), and Thailand, which has emerged as the strongest soccer country in Southeast Asia with the support of Japanese companies, face each other. The final will consist of two matches, home and away. The first leg will be held in Vietnam on the 13th, and the second leg will be held at the home stadium in Thailand on the 16th.
This confrontation is also of great interest to Korean fans. This is because it is the last game in which coach Park Hang-seo, who has raised Vietnamese football from the mid-level in Southeast Asia to the top, will play with the baton in Vietnam. Coach Park Hang-seo, who was appointed as the head coach of the Vietnam national football team in October 2017, emerged as a national hero in Vietnam by leading the championship in the following year. After this tournament, coach Park decided not to extend the contract with Vietnam and to end the five-year partnership.
Perhaps because of the influence of coach Park, who created the Korean wave of soccer in Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia also appointed Korean coaches Shin Tae-yong (53) and Kim Pan-gon (54) as national team coaches, respectively. Shin Tae-yong and coach Kim Pan-gon brought the two teams to the semifinals of this tournament. So, the 2022 AFF Mitsubishi Electric Cup became a tournament where the resourcefulness and leadership of the Korean coach shined.
At the center is director Park Hang-seo. After advancing to the final, he instilled confidence in the players, saying, “Vietnam is one step above other Southeast Asian teams.” This is because Thailand, led by coach Alexandre Pölking (47, Brazil), is a team with strong offensive power, scoring 13 goals, the most in the group stage of this tournament. In particular, the attackers’ individual skills and goal-making ability are outstanding.
On the other hand, Vietnam is good at defense and counterattack. Vietnam’s defense was solid in this tournament as well. Vietnam has been unbeaten in this competition to date. Moreover, the counterattack ability that develops quickly from the defensive line is the best in Southeast Asia.
Coach Park Hang-seo has been recording 1 win, 3 draws and 1 loss in the match against Thailand since he was appointed to the Vietnam national team. His last win against Thailand came in the 2019 King’s Cup. At that time, Vietnam defeated Thailand 1-0. However, after that, Vietnam was absolutely inferior to the point of not scoring a single goal against Thailand. In the semifinals of the 2020 AFF Suzuki Cup held in 2021, Vietnam also knelt down to Thailand.
So, in this game, Thailand’s dominance is being carefully predicted. Thailand, which has the largest professional football league in terms of industry in Southeast Asia, has won six championships in the AFF competition, which was launched in 1996, and is regarded as the leader of Southeast Asian football.
The finals of this AFF competition can also be seen as a Korea-Japan match between the Korean wave of soccer and the Japanese industry. In Thailand, the sponsor of its pro league is Toyota, which is a leading Japanese automobile company and has maintained the number one market share in Thailand for a long time. Not a few teams are sponsored by Japanese companies, starting with Buriram United, the most prestigious professional football club in Thailand. The official ball used in the Thai professional soccer league was also produced by Molten, a Japanese company.
Also, Thai players are actively advancing into the Japanese J-League. Among the key players of the Thai national team who participated in the 2022 AFF competition, there are two players who were active in the J-League. Tirasil Danda (35), who is scoring 6 goals in this tournament, and Tiraton Bunmatan (33), who leads Thailand’s defense, played for Shimizu S Pulse and Yokohama F Marinos, respectively.안전놀이터
In addition, Thailand has a special relationship with Mitsubishi Electric, the title sponsor of the 2022 AFF competition. Mitsubishi Electric established a plant in Thailand in 1964. It was the company’s first overseas plant. Since then, Japanese companies have actively entered the Southeast Asian market and stood out, and in particular, Mitsubishi Electric’s Thailand plant has emerged as the center of Southeast Asian business.
As a result, Mitsubishi ranks first and second in Thailand’s air conditioner and refrigerator market share, respectively. In the field of factory automation systems using robots, Mitsubishi Electric has also become the most important company in Thailand.
This is why Mitsubishi Electric, which has branches in Indonesia and Malaysia with a focus on Thailand, sponsors the AFF tournament, the most important tournament for soccer fans in Southeast Asia. Mitsubishi Electric also hosted a football clinic for Southeast Asian youth football prospects with AFF in Bangkok, Thailand in September. In addition to Mitsubishi Electric, there is another Japanese sponsor of the AFF event. Yanmar, a producer of agricultural machinery and diesel engines, and Pocari Sweat, a beverage company, are also influential in Southeast Asia.
This is why the clash between Thailand, where Japanese companies exert a great influence on the soccer industry, and Vietnam, which was the epicenter of the Korean soccer wave due to coach Park Hang-seo syndrome, is more interesting.