The president of the Football Association of Thailand, Somyot Poompunmuang, said: “I’m sure Thailand will win the game against Vietnam to gain back trust from the fans. I believe in head coach Akira Nishino and the players. They have been training hard and let’s keep it that way.”
Their key player, Chanathip Songkrasin, also expects a win, telling Siam Sport: “Vietnam is quite a tough rival. But Thailand have home advantage, so we have to win this game.”
Winger Chanathip Songkrasin in a training with Thailand’s squad, September 2, 2019. Photo by VnExpress/Duc Dong.
The winger told VnExpress: “Vietnam always have the determination to defeat Thailand. Their strength is team spirit and rough, fierce and sometimes aggressive style of play.”
Vietnam’s head coach Park Hang-seo is wary of what Songkrasin can do on the pitch.
“Thailand have three players playing in the Japanese league at the moment and standing out among them is Chanathip Songkrasin. Though he didn’t play in the King’s Cup, I watched him at the Asian Cup on video. He is one of the players Vietnam have to be really wary of.”
To hype up the clash, the official fanpage of the Thai football team on Facebook has a banner showing Thailand’s dominant head-to-head statistics against Vietnam.
“Thailand … have won 14 games, drew four and only lost four … against Vietnam,” it said.
The head-to-head statistics between Vietnam and Thailand. Photo courtesy of Thailand national football team official fanpage.
However, Nishino, the War Elephants’ coach, was tight-lipped when asked about Vietnam and his strategy for the game.
He told VnExpress: “I don’t know anything about Vietnam. I also don’t know any great player in their squad. I don’t want to say anything about Vietnam or coach Park Hang-seo.
“I don’t feel any pressure, just excited for my debut with the team as their head coach on [our] home ground.”
Since Park took over as Vietnam coach, he has not lost a single match to Thailand at any level.
His U23 teams beat Thailand 2-1 in the 2017 M150 Cup and 4-0 in the 2020 AFC U23 Championship qualifiers.
The senior team beat Thailand 1-0 at the King’s Cup in June.
The World Cup qualifier will be played at the Thammasat University stadium, which has a capacity of 25,000. All the tickets have been sold out, according to the organizers.
VnExpress will report the match live from 7 p.m.
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