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Thais brace for clash with North Koreans

FOOTBALL: Worrawoot Srimaka, assistant coach of Thailand’s U23 team, is hoping North Korea will wilt under the burden of expectations when the two sides meet in their opening Group B game of the AFC U23 Championship on Wednesday (Jan 10).


Monday 8 January 2018, 09:42AM

Thai U23 team train at Jiangyin Faster Sport Pitch in Jiangyin. Photo: via Bangkok Post

Thai U23 team train at Jiangyin Faster Sport Pitch in Jiangyin. Photo: via Bangkok Post

Thailand have been drawn in the same group as defending champions Japan, North Korea and Palestine for the first round action.

The championship kicks off tomorrow (Jan 9) with two Group A matches between China and Oman and Qatar and Uzbekistan.

Thailand will play Japan on Saturday (Jan 13) and take on Palestine on Jan 16.

Group C consists of Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, while South Korea, Australia, Syria and Vietnam are in Group D.

The top two teams from each group will advance to the quarter-finals.

After a training session of the national squad at their new practice base at Jiangyin Faster Sport Pitch, where a light drizzle plunged the mercury to 6C, Worrawoot said the prevailing weather would not affect the team’s performance.

“We are grateful to the Football Association of Thailand for letting us come here early,” said Worrawoot.

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“It has helped the team to get used to the cold here. I think it will not cause any problems because we have been here for many days now.”

Worrawoot added: “We lost to North Korea in the M-150 Cup in Buriram last month, so we know a great deal about their game.

“It [the M-150 Cup] was a warm-up event. Since the North Koreans beat us in that tournament, they will be under pressure to repeat that performance, which should be a good thing for our team.”

Worrawoot said: “Our goal is to make it to the knockout stage of the tournament.

“All the players are feeling very motivated and are looking forward to the match with North Korea. It should be an exciting game.”

Read original story here.



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