Thailand wary of Dutch danger (June 06, 2007)
Thailand are worried that they could be thrashed by the Netherlands in their warm-up match at Rajamangala National Stadium tonight (7pm kick-off, live on Channel 7). The Dutch defeated South Korea 2-0 in a friendly on Saturday and Thailand coach Chanvit Phalajivin knows that Holland's attacking prowess could be too much for his men.
''I'm worried about the match because the Dutch are much better than us and have a number of world class players,'' Chanvit said.
''We need a good defence and to counter-attack to pressure them.
''We have to concentrate throughout the match.
''We must not make mistakes or we could be punished.''
Thailand are weakened by the absence of Datsakorn Thonglao, Therdsak Chaiman and Sutee Suksomkit because of their ongoing club commitments in Vietnam and Singapore.
Sarayud Chaikamdee and Pipat Tonkanya will lead the Thai attack with Kiatisak ''Zico'' Senamuang on the bench, Chanvit said.
Kiatisak is still fighting his way back to fitness.
Holland boast a number of exciting players including Liverpool striker Dirk Kuyt and Hamburg midfielder Rafael van der Vaart, who scored both goals against South Korea.
''It will be a hard game especially because of the heat,'' said Kuyt. ''I want to score. I enjoy scoring goals.''
Dutch coach Marco van Basten said his team was not just treating the match as a fitness-gaining exercise.
''It is very important for our team to play well,'' he said.
''I will take it very seriously as the national team coach and I don't think it will be an easy match for us.
''However, I hope that the weather will not trouble us.
''We were affected by our long journey for the game against Korea but we have adjusted now.
''I'm confident it will be a good game of quality for both teams.
''I would like the Thai people to come and watch us playing because I know football is popular in Thailand.''
Dutch skipper Rafael van der Vaart added: '' It is my first time to be the captain and I hope we will win the match and that I manage to score.''
It is Thailand's second warm-up match for the Asian Cup after they beat China 1-0 last month. Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Indonesia will co-host the event next month.
Tickets are available at the stadium from 2pm priced 200, 400, 600, 800 and 1,000 (VIP) baht.
Probable Thailand team
Goalkeeper: Kosin Hathairattanakool
Defenders: Suree Sukha, Niweat Siriwong, Nattaporn Phanrit and Jetjada Jitsawad
Midfielders: Jakkrit Bunkham, Suchao Nutnum, Nirut Surasiang and Tawan Sripan
Strikers: Sarayud Chaikamdee and Pipat Tonkanya
Probable Holland team
Goalkeeper: Henk Timmer
Defenders: Tim de Cler, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen and Mario Melchiot
Midfielders: Denny Landzaat, Wesley Sneijder and Demy de Zeeuw
Strikers: Dirk Kuyt, Andwele Slory and Rafael van der Vaart.