Myanmar topped the 2012 ASEAN Football Federation Suzuki Cup qualifiers on Saturday in its former capital Yangon to join the Philippines in the group stages of the main tournament in November.
Ranked 184th in the world, Myanmar is grouped with Philippines, Vietnam and host Thailand in Group A, which will be played in Bangkok.
Myanmar won its first three matches — against Brunei (1-0), Timor Leste (2-1), and Cambodia (3-0) — and settled for a nil-nil draw against Laos on Saturday to gain 10 points and become the top team in the qualifiers.
The Azkals are no strangers to Myanmar, whom they held in a scoreless draw in the 2010 Suzuki Cup in a match that paved their surprise entry to the semifinals of the tournament. The two nations also battled to a draw in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers in 2011.
Laos earned the other ticket to the main tournament after finishing second in the qualifiers. It will join defending champion Malaysia, Indonesia, and Singapore in Group B, which will take place in Kuala Lumpur.
With seven points in four matches, Laos benefitted from Brunei’s 2-1 victory on Saturday over Timor Leste, which had a chance to be the second qualifier if it hadn’t lost.
The Azkals are now in Middle East to prepare for the Suzuki Cup, where they look to surpass their semifinal run in the same tournament two years ago.
» RAMPAGING FULLBACK | Neil Etheridge shares secrets to good goalkeeping in football school in Manila
» Azkals jump 19 places to reach all-time high in FIFA World Rankings
» Chinese fans call Philippines a ‘true friend’… for helping them keep World Cup dream alive