Thailand are hot favourites to reach Southeast Asian Games final but will it be Indonesia or Vietnam that join them?

Having already met in the group stage, could Thailand and Vietnam face off once more in the men's football gold medal match at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games? Football Association of Thailand

With all due respect to their opponents in the upcoming 32nd Southeast Asian Games men's football semifinals on Saturday, Thailand are almost a certainty to march on to the gold medal match.

As much as Myanmar deserve credit for having qualified for the last four after finishing second in Group A, they should be no match for the red-hot Thais.

Their respective displays so far suggest as much, as well as the fact that Thailand are record 16-time gold medallists at the SEA Games while Myanmar have not won the tournament since 1973 -- when it was still a senior competition.

Myanmar will certainly give it their all on Saturday evening and their group-stage record does not look too bad, considering they picked up three wins and only lost once.

However, that one defeat was the only real test of the campaign so far -- and they were comprehensively beaten by Indonesia 5-0.

Meanwhile, Thailand -- finding themselves in the Group of Death -- comfortably saw off Malaysia even if they did leave it late to do so, before sealing top spot with a 1-1 draw against defending champions Vietnam on Thursday despite resting a whole host of regular starters.

Barring a quite unthinkable upset, it will be the War Elephants who march on to Tuesday's final.

Who will be waiting them in the decider is far more open-ended preposition.

On one hand, it's difficult to look past Group A winners Indonesia, who are the only team to boast a perfect record of four wins in the group stage and with an impressive record of 13 goals scored and just one conceded.

They have been unstoppable at times and, just like Thailand and Vietnam did in their last Group B outing, the Indonesians kept a whole host of star names in reserve in their Group A finale and still managed to beat a Cambodia outfit who were gunning for a last-four berth -- which they ultimately came up short in -- with a vociferous home crowd behind them.

After an influx of bright talents at the 2020 AFF Championship, where Indonesia reached the final, hinted at a promising future, there is a feeling that Indonesia could really be ready to unleash a golden generation at this SEA Games.

Marselino Ferdinan has only enhanced his reputation at the tournament while Witan Sulaeman, Alfeandra Dewangga and Pratama Arhan were already established senior players, but the likes of Ramadhan Sananta and Fajar Fathur Rahman have also shown what they are capable of.

Should they play to their full potential, Indonesia could easily see off any opposition at the tournament.

Nonetheless, there is also something about Vietnam -- back-to-back gold medallist from the past two editions -- that also makes it difficult to bet against them.

Gone is Park Hang-seo, who departed the Vietnamese national team setup following the conclusion of the last AFF Championship.

This SEA Games team also does not boast as many illustrious names as previous years, when Vietnam were bringing through their own golden generation of stars such as Nguyen Quang Hai, Nguyen Tien Linh and Doan Van Hau.

And yet, the Vietnamese are once again through to the semifinals -- undefeated too, despite being dealt a tricky hand in the group stage.

Then again, that is what the SEA Games are about.

As an age-group tournament, it is the platform for the next generation of previously-unheard of youngsters to make a name for themselves.

Striker Nguyen Van Tung has done just that as joint-top scorer so far with four goals, as have wingers Le Van Do and Nguyen Thanh Nhan, centre-back Tran Quang Thinh and goalkeeper Quan Van Chuan.

Park's legacy remains evident with Vietnam continuing to be a well-organised, tactically-sound outfit deployed in what is now their trademark 3-4-3 formation.

With Indonesia's sheer explosiveness and attacking adventure taking on the methodical yet clinical machine that is Vietnam, Saturday's first semifinal is promising to be an epic.

And whoever emerges triumphant from that battle will only further believe that the gold medal is not beyond them, even if it is indeed Thailand that await in the decider.