1959: The first SEA Games (known as SEAP Games) was held in Bangkok (Thailand) in 1959. At that point of time, Vietnam was represented by South Vietnam team. The South Vietnam team had to travel by coach, spending one night in Phnompenh (Cambodia) before arriving at Bangkok. Despite that long and
1961: 2nd SEA Games was held in Rangoon (Burma), Vietnam (South Vietnam) failed to defend its title. Vietnam team was pooled in group A alongside Thailand and Laos. After beating Laos 7-0 and drawing 0-0 with Thai, Vietnam advanced to semi-final to play against Burma (Myanmar). The host was very strong then and they defeated Vietnam 2-1. As a result, Vietnam finished in third place.
1963: Not held.
1967: Vietnam got silver medal.
1969: Vietnam failed to reach semi-finals.
1973: Vietnam got silver medal
1975-1989: Vietnam didn't enter SEA Games due to diplomatic issues.
1991: Vietnam lost heavily in group stage (SEA Games 16).
1993: Vietnam lost heavily again (SEA Games 17).
1995: German coach Karl Heine Weigang was appointed as Vietnam head coach. He somehow turned a weak national team into a real surprise-package in SEA Games 18. In group stage, Vietnam won 2-0, 7-0 and 1-0 against Malaysia, Laos and Indonesia respectively before losing 1-3 to host Thailand. In semi-final, Vietnam defeated Myanmar by a golden goal. To the final, Vietnam was not able to cope with Thailand, losing 0-4 and came home with silver medals.
1997: SEA Games 19 (Indonesia) saw Vietnam finish the tournament with bronze medal after losing 1-2 to Thailand in semi-final and winning 1-0 against Singapore in the third-place match.
1999: Vietnam national team went to Brunei with its best team ever since 1990. The team managed to reach the final but lost 0-2 to rival Thailand again. Vietnam got silver medal.
2001: The new rule was adopted in SEA Games 21 in Malaysia. Only under-23 players were eligible to play. Vietnam U23 failed to reach semi-final due to lack of preparation.
2003: SEA Games 22 was held in Vietnam. Vietnam U23 found it a perfect chance to win the first gold medal after 44-year drought. The team was very determined to end Thai dominance in SEA Games. Although Vietnam successfully made its way to the final to play against arch rival Thailand, they once again lost 1-2 after extra-time. Vietnam got silver medal again.
2005: Vietnam brought its squad to Bacolod (Philippines) with full of brilliant young stars. The U23 team was very well-prepared, especially after playing in Asian Cup Qualifying Round in which they managed to earn an amazing 1-0 victory against Asian giant South Korea national team. Vietnam, however, was unable to change the color of its medal this time when losing 0-3 to Thailand in the final. But the silver medal was shadowed by the infamous match-fixing scandal which made 7 Vietnamese players imprisoned and banned globally. Pham Van Quyen, the brightest talent of Vietnamese football at that time, was also involved and his international ban has not been lifted until now.
2007: After surprisingly reaching the final qualifying round of Olympic Beijing 2008 alongside kinds of Japan and Saudi Arabia , a brand new and talented Vietnam U23 took part in SEA Games 24 with huge expectation. Nevertheless the team was unable to show its best after a busy year with congested tournaments. Losing PK to Myanmar U23 in the semi-final, Vietnam U23 disappointed all the fans. In the third-place match, the lackluster Vietnam side suffered heavy 0-5 defeat to Singapore U23.