Friday, July 19, 2019

Miracles can happen, insists Kanjana

Jun 19. 2019
Thailand captain Kanjana Sung-ngoen
Thailand captain Kanjana Sung-ngoen
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By Lerpong Amsa-ngiam
The Nation

2,947 Viewed

Thailand captain Kanjana Sung-ngoen says hope is not lost for Thailand at the World Cup in France, despite heavy defeats in both their games so far.

Thailand were demolished 13-0 by world No 1 and defending champions USA last week, the biggest winning margin in Cup history, before regaining some pride in losing 5-1 to Sweden, world-ranked 9 and 2016 Olympic silver medallists, on Sunday.

An 18-goal deficit heading into the group-stage finale against Chile on Thursday night makes Thailand’s qualification for the last-16 as one of the four best third-placed teams a near-impossible scenario but Kanjana, who lifted team spirits with her late goal against Sweden, thinks otherwise.

“Anything can happen in the world of soccer,” said the 32-year-old striker from Surin province during a break in training at the Stade Municipal Pont Pean in Rennes, the city in northwestern France where Thursday’s game will be played.

“ We cannot underestimate any team. Our job is to produce the best results in order to keep our hopes of reaching the last 16 alive.”

Apart from beating Chile, two other things must happen for Thailand to reach the World Cup knockout stage for the first time: Argentina must draw with Scotland in their Group D finale on Wednesday night, while Cameroon and New Zealand, in Group E 24 hours later.

“The atmosphere at the team has been so much better since we scored the first goal [against Sweden],” said Kanjana. 

“Four years ago we were unable to even score against higher-ranked teams, so scoring against world No 9 like Sweden has really boosted us to keep fighting.”

 Thailand’s thre other World Cup goals came against Ivory Coast in Ottawa four years ago.

After recovering from the fiasco of the opening-game hammering by the US to get on the goalsheet against Sweden, the Thai team made headlines around the world. US broadcaster CNN even interviewed team manager Nualphan Lamsam about her commitment to supporting the women’s team, financially and in person.

The Thailand-Chile game kicks off at 2am on Friday (Thailand time) and can be seen live on PPTV.

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