Thailand lose 3-1 to Dutch masters (June 07, 2007)

The Netherlands defeated Thailand quite comfortably 3-1 in an entertaining friendly at Rajamangala stadium yesterday. Thailand put up a spirited effort in front of an enthusiastic crowd of about 20,000, but the classy Dutch side were in control of the match right from the start with captain Rafael van der Vaart once again playing a key role.

Only a fine display by Thai keeper Kosin Hathairattakool kept the score down.

It was Van der Vaart who gave the Dutch the perfect start after just three minutes when he pounced on a good pass from Wesley Sneijder and slipped the ball past Kosin into the far corner.

To their credit Thailand tried to respond quickly and in the 9th minute Nirut Surasiang came close and two minutes later Pipat Tonkanya forced Dutch goalkeeper, Henk Timmer into a fine save.

A minute later, Jakkrit Bunkham joined in the fun, but his shot just went wide.

After that the Dutch settled down and generally took command with Van der Vaart coming close in the 19th minute.

As the first half went on Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt had a couple of good efforts and Sneijder forced a good save from the keeper.

The Dutch struck again just before half-time when an unmarked John Heitinga headed the ball home from a Sneider corner.

In the second half, the Dutch took control again and made it 3-0 in the 56th minute through Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

At this stage Thailand brought on veteran star Kiatisak Senamuang for Sarayud Chaikamdee.

Thailand kept trying and were rewarded for their efforts in the 65th minute when Tawan Sripan converted an excellent free kick from just outside the area which gave the keeper no chance.
Thailand had one more chance to narrow the gap, but Suchao Nutnum's shot was saved by Timmer.

After the match Thailand coach, Chanvit Phalajivin said he was pleased with his team's performance and the defeat was not unexpected.

''We played against a world class team which was good as it will give us more confidence in the Asian Cup,'' he said.

''Our players looked a bit nervous to start with and we let in an early goal. Still we created a number of chances as our confidence increased.''

He said that if Kiatisak gets fully fit he would be in the team for the Asian Cup.

Dutch coach Marco van Basten said he was satisfied with his team's performance. ''The players struggled a bit with the hot weather but played okay,'' he said. ''We created a lot of chances. It was a good result but our defence needs tightening up.''

The Dutch team flew home last night while the Thai team are scheduled to fly to Germany this morning where they will be training until June 25th.