Thailand to face Australian challenge (01/08/2011)

There was a mixed reaction by Thai soccer officials to the Asian zone third round draw in the World Cup qualifying tournament made in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night.

Thailand have been drawn in Group D along with top-seeded Australia, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Team manager Anucha Nakasai said he was pleased with the draw, despite the presence of heavyweights Australia and Saudi Arabia.

"They are admittedly all strong teams but at least we didn't get Japan or South Korea," he said.

"Australia play a high standard of football, but I think we can give them a good game," said Anucha.

"The Australian players are tall but they are a bit slow. I think we have the speed with our short-passing game to upset them, but of course it will be difficult."

He said that he did not think Saudi Arabia were as strong as they used to be.

"They have lost a lot of their best players and I think we can take them on without any problem," he said.

As regards Oman, Anucha said that Thailand has a decent record against them and could beat them.

"If we can get six points from Oman we have a good chance of advancing," he said.

Football Association of Thailand president, Worawi Makudi, was more cautious however, saying it was not an easy group with Australia and Saudi Arabia being strong teams.

However he said Thailand 's aim is to get into the next round and the team would do its best.

"We will prepare for the matches by having games with Middle Eastern teams."

Thailand's first match will be away to Australia on Sept 2.

The final game will be away to Oman on Feb 29, 2012.

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