Where are they now: Vietnam's reigning AFF Suzuki Cup champions from 2018

After winning their maiden AFF Suzuki Cup in 2008, Vietnam went another decade without tasting success again until their title drought was ended three years ago.

Even with the COVID-19 pandemic wiping out the entirety of 2020, plenty has still happened since Vietnam were crowned champions of Southeast Asia.

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Immediately after that success, the Vietnamese would create waves on a continental level by reaching the quarterfinals of AFC Asian Cup 2019, and would continue in that vein of form as they are currently the only team from their region in the final round of Asian qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Given how recent their last Suzuki Cup success was, and considering that side was hailed as a golden generation for Vietnamese football, it should come as no surprise that many will still be part of the quest to successfully defend their crown.

But with a couple of key names no longer in the picture, it is the perfect time to look back and where some of Vietnam's 2018 Suzuki Cup champions are now.

Dang Van Lam

Born in Russia, Dang Van Lam ventured to Vietnam -- his father's country of birth -- to play club football as early as 2011, but it was only in 2017 when he won his first senior cap for the national team.

Since then, he has been Vietnam's first choice between the posts when available and has featured in the AFC Champions League and Emperor's Cup after joining Cerezo Osaka earlier this year, although he is still waiting to make his J1 League debut.

Que Ngoc Hai

Having first appeared at the tournament in 2014, Que Ngoc Hai will feature in his fourth consecutive Suzuki Cup this year and has matured from a talented but rash prospect to a calming presence in defence -- one that has been enstrusted with the captain's armband since the 2019 Asian Cup.

The 28-year-old, now on the books of V.League 1 champions Viettel after leaving boyhood club Song Lam Nghe An in 2019, remains a key player for Vietnam while also being a handy contributor of goals as the team's penalty taker.

Doan Van Hau

The sky appeared the limit for Doan Van Hau when his outstanding displays from leftback at the Suzuki Cup and Asian Cup saw him earn a move to the Eredivisie with Heerenveen at just the age of 20.

Injuries however have not been kind to him and, while he is firmly on the comeback trail, he will not be present at this year's Suzuki Cup with Nguyen Phong Hong Duy set to take his place on the left side of the Vietnamese defence.

Luong Xuan Truong

Once touted as the future of Vietnam alongside Nguyen Cong Phuong, it is safe to say that Luong Xuan Truong's career has not developed as many expected after the early promise he showed saw him earn loan stints in South Korea with Incheon United and Gangwon FC, and even with Thai League 1 giants Buriram United.

A composed deep-lying playmaker who has all the necessary attributes to be a team's heartbeat in midfield, Xuan Truong is still involved in the Vietnam setup but is no longer a regular in the starting XI having dropped in the pecking order behind the likes of Nguyen Hoang Duc, Nguyen Tuan Anh, Do Hung Dung and even Pham Duc Huy.

Nguyen Van Quyet

Following the retirement of the legendary Le Cong Vinh and before the current golden generation arrived on the scene, the hopes of Vietnamese football were often singlehandedly carried by Nguyen Van Quyet, who can lay claim to being one of Southeast Asia's most-talented playmakers of his generation.

For all his years of service, Van Quyet at least had the honour of captaining Vietnam to regional glory in 2018 but was phased out of the team ahead of the Asian Cup, although he should still have several years left in him for Hanoi FC.

Nguyen Quang Hai

As the left-footed wizard who stole the show at the 2018 Suzuki Cup, Nguyen Quang Hai has grown into one of Asian football's brightest young prospects and has an uncanny knack of performing on the biggest stages against the sternest of oppositions.

Nonetheless, while still a star in his own right, Quang Hai's influence has waned in recent times and many are calling for him to leave the comfort of playing domestically in search of a move abroad to take his development to the next level.

Nguyen Anh Duc

Like Van Quyet, Nguyen Anh Duc was one of the few players from the previous generation to play a key role in the title-winning side from three years ago.

A formidable presence up front with his strength and aerial ability, Anh Duc actually boasts a creditable record of 12 goals in 36 caps for Vietnam but -- now at the age of 36 - has dropped down a division to play for second-tier Long An.

Park Hang-seo

Although his initial appointment in 2017 was greeted with uncertainty, Park Hang-seo is now well-loved all throughout Vietnam for the success he has brought the national team.

Regardless of what the future brings, Park will also have legendary status in Vietnamese football, although there are doubters wondering if he has achieved all the can with them -- especially following their current run of six consecutive defeats in the final round of Asian World Cup qualifiers.