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Thailand promise total assault

FOOTBALL: Thailand national team coach Kiatisak Senamuang is busy re-jigging the game plan for tomorrow’s (Sept 6) World Cup qualifier against Japan at the Rajamangala National Stadium.


Bangkok Post

Monday 5 September 2016, 10:29AM

Thailand coach Kiatisak Senamuang, front, with the players during a training session at Suphachalasai Stadium. Photo: Thiti Wannamontha
Thailand coach Kiatisak Senamuang, front, with the players during a training session at Suphachalasai Stadium. Photo: Thiti Wannamontha

The coach has, however, ruled out the defensive ploy which his men used so impressively to keep Saudi Arabia in check before losing their first Group B match of the final Asian phase of qualifiers 1-0 in a controversial manner.

It is not only the Thais who are thinking of going on the attack – Japan midfielder Keisuke Honda is also promising an “all out” effort.

The Thais yesterday (Sept 4) had their first training session after returning from Saudi Arabia on Saturday (Sept 3) and midfielder Adul Lasoh, who has been called up to join the team as a possible replacement for the suspended Sarach Yooyen, joined the squad.

Kiatisak said, “Today, we focused on both attacking and defending, but that is because some of our players did not perform well during the match against Saudi Arabia [on Thursday].

“We are expecting a tough match against Japan. They have good a system and are very strong tactically.”

The Thai coach added that the Japanese players are “far more experienced than ours”.

“I don’t see any major difference in the standard of their starting line-up and their players on the bench. A good number of them play in the European leagues and their young players come from the Olympic squad, making them a strong team,” he said.

“Both teams are in the same situation because we lost our first matches.

“The Japanese should be under more pressure. We have reached this stage [of the qualifiers] only for the second time so we have nothing to lose.

“We will not play a defensive game [tomorrow], but then I expect the same from them.

“I have told my players that we have to get points from such home matches. We played well against the Saudis but still lost. We must get a point from this game,” he added.

Kiatisak also felt that playing at home “will not give us any major advantage. We would still need to stay focused and avoid mistakes.

“The weather would not help us either. They [the Japanese] have been here for a few days now and they must have adapted themselves to the climate here.

“We have to go out there and put in our best effort in the hope of stealing three points from them. We have to put our campaign back on track.”

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Thailand will have their final training session this evening (Sept 5) at the Rajamangala National Stadium.

Meanwhile, Honda has berated his younger teammates after their shock loss to the United Arab Emirates and demanded more effort from them in the qualifier against Thailand.

Japan lost 2-1 at home to 74th-ranked UAE in their Group B opener last Thursday and defeat tomorrow would be another serious setback to their hopes of advancing from a section that includes heavyweights Australia and Saudi Arabia.

“A surprising number of players watch and read the news so they know what I say,” Honda, who scored his team’s only goal against the UAE, told Japanese media after a training session.

“I don’t think they are going to change straight away, but maybe become aware of the fact that they have to make more of an effort.

“I want to give them the opportunity to change their mindset. I have to pull the team forward when it needs pulling, and it’s not just me. There are a number of experienced players on this team that feel the same way.

“The young players can’t expect others to lead the team and I am sure they are starting to understand that. Everyone has to stand up and be counted. That is what the Japan national team is all about.”

Thailand, ranked 120th in the world, have enjoyed an impressive run to the final phase of Asian qualifying and gave a good account of themselves in the 1-0 defeat in Riyadh.

AC Milan midfielder Honda said Japan, ranked 49th in the world, would need to go “all out” with the intention of winning the rest of their qualifiers.

“We have to go into the next game with confidence and with a positive mind-set,” the bleach-blond 30-year-old said in comments published by Kyodo news agency.

“There is pressure right from the start [of the qualifiers] but we have experienced even higher-pressure situations than this before and we have to face it head-on.”

Australia, who beat Iraq at home last Thursday, lead Group B on goal difference from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The two top teams in the group qualify automatically for Russia with the third-placed team entering a play-off.   

Read original story here.



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