Vietnam got a lucky break as the draw was announced for the 2010 ASEAN Football Association (AFF) Cup in Hanoi on Wednesday.
The defending champions will play in Group B against Singapore, Myanmar and won't clash with big rivals like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia in the early stages of the contest.
Powerhouse Thailand will play Malaysia, Group A hosts Indonesia and the first-place team from the qualifying round.
The qualifying round will kick off in Vientiane in late October. The Laotian hosts will face off against Cambodia, East Timor and the Philippines for two places in the final round which begins in early December.
Asked if he felt relieved about Vietnam's placement in Group B, Calisto said "Which group would you choose if you could? Of course, Group B is easier!
"But as I said before, we will kill ourselves if we don't respect rivals. There were two strong contenders for the title in 2008; and now there are five."
Calisto, who helped Vietnam win the AFF trophy in 2008, said Singapore has made constant progress and Myanmar has improved a lot, too.
The Portuguese coach said that Vietnam will have to do their best in every single match to defend the championship of the biennial regional football event.
He believed that Vietnam won the title two years ago by surprising all of its rivals but, this year,
Vietnam's opponents have studied their techniques and will come to the matches very familiar with the team's playing style.
The best two teams from groups A and B will play two-leg matches, away and home, in the semifinals.
The losers in the semi-finals will both take third place titles while the winners will play a two-leg final for the championship.