Thailand face Singapore in key Group B clash on Sunday, need 3 straight wins to make semis

Thailand midfielder Worachit Kanitsribumpen attends a training session on Saturday.

As Thailand football coach Akira Nishino fine tuned his team’s tactics for their crucial 2019 SEA Games Group B battle with Singapore on Sunday, he admitted to being under pressure.

However, the Japanese veteran, who took his country to the last 16 round of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, vowed to help the War Elephants win their remaining three group games and qualify for the semi-finals as one of the top two teams in the group.

Thailand’s shock 2-0 loss to Indonesia on Tuesday, coupled with other results in the group, have left the three-time defending champions in a precarious position.

Co-title favourites Vietnam head the group with six points, the same as unbeaten Indonesia who trail in second place because of inferior goal difference.

The Thais, hoping to win their fourth straight gold medal in the biennial tournament open to players aged under 23 years, are in third place with three points following a 7-0 rout of Brunei on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Worachit said his fitness is getting better but he won’t confirm that if he would be able to take any part in the match against Singapore.

“I am happy that I trained with the team today, but there is still a bit of pain. I have to see whether I can play in the next game or not.”

He added: “The situation here is only slightly different from what we came across in the last SEA Games in Malaysia two years ago when we were off to a bad start.

“Our loss to Indonesia in the opening game has made things difficult for us here. We cannot afford to lose another game in the tournament now.”

Writer: Tor Chittinand
Source: Bangkok Post