Thailand seeking big win – and luck – to keep World Cup hopes alive

TUESDAY, JUNE 11, 2024

Thailand face a do-or-die final match in Group C tonight, needing a big win to keep their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualification hopes alive. 

Sitting third in the group on 5 points, the War Elephants must claim all three points against bottom-place Singapore and also overcome a three-goal difference to leapfrog second-place China. 

The Chinese need a draw or win against already-qualified South Korea to claim a spot in the third round and end Thailand’s chance of a debut World Cup appearance.  

South Korea topped Group C with 13 points from four wins and one draw, followed by China (8), Thailand (5) and Singapore (1).

The top two teams will advance to the third round, where places at the 2026 World Cup will be decided.

Thailand coach Masatada Ishii admitted on Monday that the War Elephants were in a difficult spot after their 1-1 draw against China on June 6. However, he told the press conference that his team would throw everything at Singapore in a bid to clinch the last qualification berth.

“We need to be fully prepared, so players and staff will focus on our attacking game while keeping things tight at the back to ensure our opponents don’t score,” said the 47-year-old Japanese coach.

“We have to focus on our opponent and our own game and not be distracted by the match between South Korea and China,” he added.

Thailand seeking big win – and luck – to keep World Cup hopes alive

Ishii said he expected Singapore to play a similar style to Thailand as they also have a Japanese head coach, Tsutomu Ogura. 

He added the attacking partnership of striker Teerasil Dangda and playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin were fit to play tonight.

Good communication with players on the pitch would be vital to success in the game, Ishii said.   

“I am responsible for the team’s decision-making, so we need to improve our communication – whether via medical staff or substitutes,” he said. 

The team needs to communicate more and more clearly, he emphasised.

Thailand goalkeeper Patiwat Khammai

Thailand goalkeeper Patiwat Khammai said the team was 100% ready for the challenge. 

“We need to focus on our victory and not look to the result of the other match,” he said.

Patiwat said his mission tonight was to avoid conceding a goal while hoping his teammates could do their job and score at the other end.

The Thailand-Singapore match kicks off at Rajamangala National Stadium at 7.30pm (Thailand time), with live coverage on Thairath TV.