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Thailand on brink of Women’s World Cup

FOOTBALL: Thailand are on the verge of earning a ticket to the 2019 Fifa World Cup after thrashing hosts Jordan 6-1 in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Amman on Monday night (Apr 9).

FootballWorld-CupBangkok Post

Wednesday 11 April 2018, 09:49AM


Thailand’s Suchawadee Nildhamrong (right) scores the opening goal against Jordan after just 16 seconds. Photo: via Bangkok Post

Thailand’s Suchawadee Nildhamrong (right) scores the opening goal against Jordan after just 16 seconds. Photo: via Bangkok Post

Suchawadee Nildhamrong, who scored two goals, opened the floodgates after 16 seconds and the team never looked back. Thailand now need only one point against the Philippines, who lost 3-0 to China on Monday, in their final Group A game tomorrow (Apr 12).

The Southeast Asian nations each have three points but the Thais have a superior goal difference.

The top two teams in Group A and Group B in the tournament advance to the Women’s World Cup in France next year.

The two third-placed teams meet in a play-off with the winners receiving Asia’s final berth at France 2019.

Thailand are looking to play in the World Cup for the second time, having made their debut at the 2015 finals in Canada.

Having defeated Thailand 4-0 in their opening match, China are assured of a place at the World Cup following their win against the Philippines.

Five-time SEA Games champions Thailand will be heavy favourites against the Philippines but coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian was quick to calm the euphoria surrounding her side after the Chaba Kaew (Glass Hibiscus) moved to within 90 minutes of qualifying for the World Cup.

“We achieved our target for today, but this is just one game,” Nuengrutai said after the massive win.

“We have another match coming up in a few days and we are already looking forward to it.

“The best thing about the Jordan match was the confidence with which the team played. But of course there were a few moments which saw us being put under pressure, especially when they played the long ball. Going forward we must look at this and attempt to fix the problem.

“We went into the game trying to play attacking football as we wanted to get all three points. We applied pressure high up the pitch so as to negate the counter-attacking threat of Jordan, and that was a plan that we certainly carried out with aplomb.”

Meanwhile, Suchawadee’s blink-and-you-missed-it opening goal, scored just 16 seconds into the game, was surprisingly not the fastest of her career.

“Yeah, it absolutely was [the fastest goal]. I don’t think I’ve scored anything faster than that in my entire life,” beamed the US-raised forward.

“The score we ended up with tonight was exactly what we wanted, but we knew we could bounce back. We’ve played Jordan multiple times, so we knew what to expect from them.

“I think getting the first goal was important. We needed that coming out of the China game but we also needed that to prove to ourselves that this was a match that we could easily win if we worked together.”

While Thailand were able to take full advantage of Jordan’s defensive woes, they didn’t have it all their own way, with winger Shahnaz Jebreen, in particular, causing them problems.

“When we were up 4-0, I was still genuinely worried that they would counter-attack and score goals against us,” said Suchawadee, who is affectionately called “Miranda” by the Thai press.

“They’re very fast up front, and that’s one of their best aspects, but it was hard for them defence wise.”

Philippines coach Rabah Benlarbi said: “The game against Thailand is a very important one for us. We have some tired players, but we will try to recover.”

Read original story here.

 

 

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