Thailand face crucial showdown against Oman (July 12, 2007)
Thailand know that if they beat Oman at Rajamangala National Stadium today they will have a great chance to advance to the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup. Thailand coach Chanvit Phalajivin is quite aware just how crucial the showdown with Oman will be.
''We have to win this match,'' he said. ''The second match tends to be the most important, so we have to turn the pressure into determination.''
Thailand have three injury worries, Chanvit revealed.
Defender Jetsada Jitsawad has a thigh muscle injury and hasn't trained for the past two days. He is rated doubtful. The other injuries are to attackers Teerasil Dangda (ankle) and Pipat Tonkanya (ankle).
''If Jetsada cannot play we may use Kiatprawut Saiwaew or Patipan Petchpool,'' he said.
Chanvit said he would not make a decision on Jetsada until the last minute.
"I looked at the Indonesia and the Vietnam games and the quality of the teams is not so different. Vietnam and Indonesia did a good job in taking their chances and we will try to do the same." — Chanvit Phalajivin, Thailand Coach
However, he confirmed he would keep veteran Kiatisak ''Zico'' Senamuang and Sutee Suksomkit as the strikers although they did not make a big impact in the opening match against Iraq.
Chanvit is hoping that he can follow up the warm-up win over Qatar with another Gulf scalp.
''I looked at the Indonesia and the Vietnam games and the quality of the teams is not so different. Vietnam and Indonesia did a good job in taking their chances and we will try to do the same.''
Thailand's skipper, Tawan Sripan said ''Oman have good individual football skills. They are much quicker than the Iraqi team. But we must not succumb to the pressure as we must win.''
Tawan said he hoped the pitch was in good condition.
''We must play better than in the first match,'' he said.
''In the previous match, we played on a wet pitch and we gradually got used to it.''
Group A is finely poised with all four sides _ Thailand, Australia, Oman and Iraq _ on one point each. Australia play Iraq tomorrow.
Oman's Argentine coach Gabriel Calderon said his side was injury-free but struggling with cramp problems.
He is not underestimating Thailand despite being buoyed by his side's opening draw with Australia.
''We are handicapped because Thailand have had one more rest day than us and we don't know yet how the players who are suffering from cramp will respond to their treatment. Hopefully it's looking good,'' he said.
''It always difficult to beat the home team when they are in front of a big crowd, but I hope we can win to put ourselves in a good position in the group.''
The match between Thailand and Oman will kick off at 5.20pm and will be live on Channel 7 and Star Sport.
PROBABLE THAI SQUAD
Goalkeeper: Kosin Hathairattanakool
Defenders: Suree Sukha, Niweat Siriwong, Jetsada Jitsawad or Kiatprawut Saiwaew or Patipan Petchpool and Nattaporn Phanrit.
Midfielders: Tawan Sripan, Therdsak Chaiman, Datsakorn Thonglao and Nirut Surasiang.
Strikers: Kiatisak Senamuang and Sutee Suksomkit.