Cambodia were thrashed 7-0 by Malaysia in the opening game of their 2020 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) U-16 Championship qualification campaign at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane, Laos, on Wednesday.
Cambodia have been drawn into Group J alongside hosts Laos, Japan and Malaysia.
Akid Mohd Zamri scored twice for Malaysia, winners of the 2019 Asean Football Federation U-15 Championship, with the other goals scored by Adam Uwais Mohd Armi, Adam Farhan Mohd Faizal, Harry Danish Haizon, Nabil Qayyum Zainuddin and Khairil Mohd Zain.
The finals of the biennial international youth football championship for the men’s U-16 national teams of Asia will take place in Bahrain between September 16 and October 3 next year.
All 47 AFC member associations teams entered the competition, which features players born on or after January 1, 2004, and were split into 11 groups.
A total of 16 qualified teams will play in the finals, including Bahrain who qualified automatically as hosts.
In each group, teams play each other once at a centralised venue. The eleven group winners and the four best runners-up qualify for the finals.
If Bahrain win their group or are among the four best runners-up, the fifth best runner-up also qualifies for the finals.
Japan, Tajikistan, South Korea, Australia, North Korea, Indonesia, Oman and India are the top eight seeds.
The teams that reach the semi-finals in Bahrain will also qualify to represent Asia at the 2021 Fifa U-17 World Cup.
On Friday, Cambodia face an even more daunting test against favourites Japan, who beat hosts Laos 4-0 at the same venue earlier on Wednesday.