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War Elephants 'ready' for UAE test

War Elephants 'ready' for UAE test

FOOTBALL: Thailand are ready to take on the United Arab Emirates in an Asian qualifier for the 2022 World Cup Tuesday night (October 15).


By Bangkok Post

Tuesday 15 October 2019, 09:50AM


Thailand coach Akira Nishino, left, and goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen attend Tuesday's press conference. Photo: Bangkok Post

Thailand coach Akira Nishino, left, and goalkeeper Siwarak Tedsungnoen attend Tuesday's press conference. Photo: Bangkok Post

The match kicks off at 7pm at Thammasat Stadium in Rangsit and will be shown live by Thai Rath TV.

The UAE, the top seeded team in Group G, are favourites to advance to Asia's 12-team final qualifying round from the pool.

They are currently the group leaders with six points, two ahead of Thailand and Vietnam.

The eight group winners and four best runners-up reach Asia's third and final qualifying stage for the Qatar World Cup.

Thailand coach Akira Nishino told a press conference on Monday that a number of his injured players are now ready for Tuesday's match although the War Elephants will be without their playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin, who did not join the team due to an injury.

Defender Theerathon Bunmathan, who got injured ahead of last week's warm-up game with Congo, is now fit to face the UAE, Nishino said.

"Every [injured] player in the team has returned to training and this is good news for our team," the Japanese coach said.

"As for Theerathon, he is getting better and better.

"We did not have an ideal training exercise with so many players being injured, but now we are ready for the match."

Nishino admitted that the UAE were a strong team with "some very gifted players".

"Their striker Ali Mabkhout, I think, is very good, but our defenders will not be marking any special players. We will play as a team and help each other in getting the ball around," added the Japanese.

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"We have carefully studied their weak and strong points and I don't think they have many weaknesses.

"They are good in attacking and especially their No.10 [Omar Abdulrahman] is a very skilful player. So far he has only come on as a substitute in the UAE's last two matches, but he is always able to make a big difference.

"I am not setting any long-term goals for the Thai team. We will take the things on a match-by-match basis, so let us see first what happens in the game against the UAE."

UAE coach Bert van Marwijk said: "We are only worried about the rain and we have to see the condition of the pitch on the match day.

"We are prepared but Thailand are one of the strong teams in the group and I think it will be a difficult game for us."

Van Marwijk said he saw Thailand in action when he coached Saudi Arabia, but added that the UAE were facing "a different team under a different coach".

In Tuesday's other Group G game, Vietnam should have few problems at Indonesia, who are still chasing their first point of the campaign.

The Indonesians have lost three successive matches, including two at home against Malaysia and Thailand.

Vietnam have four points from a draw at Thailand and a home win against Malaysia.

Read original story here.

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