Friday, July 19, 2019

Broken Thais need moral support ahead of Sweden test

Jun 14. 2019
Suchawadee Nildhamrong, left, goes for a run with a member of the coaching staff during training in Nice.
Suchawadee Nildhamrong, left, goes for a run with a member of the coaching staff during training in Nice.
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By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam

The Nation Weekend

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Thailand’s American-born star Suchawadee Nildhamrong says the players need to know that people back home are still behind them ahead of their second daunting World Cup assignment, against 2003 runners-up Sweden, on Sunday.

The 22-year-old forward from California is trying to recover from the psychological damage caused by Thailand’s 13-0 thrashing at the hands of defending champions USA on Wednesday, the heaviest defeat in the tournament’s history.

“I was disappointed that we lost,” said Suchawadee (birth name Miranda Nild) of her World Cup debut. “But it was not a surprise, the US are a very strong team and they were playing really well.”

The University of California graduate said she was touched to be hugged and consoled by US captain Alex Morgan, who is her idol and attended the same college.

“She said I shouldn’t worry about the match as there are still two more games to play,” Suchawadee added. “She also told me to be happy to have had the chance to play in the World Cup. At that time my tongue was tight so I just said ‘Thank you’ ”.

Thailand are not expected to pose much of a threat to the world No 9 Swedes but Suchawadee hopes the players have learned lessons from the US game and that, combined with knowing they still have support back home, will lead to them putting up a better performance.

“Against Sweden, we have to tighten our defence a lot better. If we play an offensive game, we have to stick to it. We all feel excited but we must stay calm and focused. I hope that fans will continue to support us and we will try to play better,” she added.

Meanwhile, coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian has advised her players not to take much notice of social media, especially negative remarks which threaten to knock their confidence further.

“If they read those messages, they must refrain from interacting with social media users,” she said during a a break from taking a training session at Parc des Sports Charles Ehrmann Stadium in Nice. “They have to understand that fans criticise them because they want the team to improve.”

On the Sweden game she said: “We have to be more careful and solid and at the same time seize our opportunities. Several players are injured but we still have to rely on them.”

Sunday’s game kicks off at 8pm Thailand time and will be broadcast live on PPTV.

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