ASIAN CUP: Thailand aiming for quarters (December 22, 2006)
The secretary-general of the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) is confident that Thailand will reach the quarter-finals of the Asian Cup next year. One group of preliminary matches is being hosted by Thailand in the July 7-29 competition.
Other co-hosts are Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.
Thailand has been drawn in a tough group with Asian Games runner-up Iraq, Oman and Australia.
Worawi Makudi said that despite the difficult opposition he felt Thailand could advance.
''We know it is a tough group, but all the groups are tough because these are the best teams in Asia,'' he said.
Worawi said Australia were obviously the group favourites because they impressed in the World Cup and most of the team are playing in European leagues including the Premiership.
He said Thailand's best chance is to get points from Iraq and Oman.
''We are playing at home and I'm sure our players will put on a good performance,'' he said.
Worawi said the team will go to Germany in June for three weeks' training before returning for the opening match with Iraq on July 7.
Meanwhile, Thailand King's Cup team defeated the Port 3-0 in a warm-up match at BEC Tero Ground, Nong Jok yesterday.
The King's Cup begins on Sunday at Supachalasai stadium. Also playing are Kazakhstan, Singapore and Vietnam.
On target for the national team yesterday were Pipat Tonkanya (57th and 84th) and Pichitpong Cheuichew (80th).
Captain Kiatisak Senamuang said the team are in good shape. ''We are looking forward to playing Vietnam as they want revenge after losing the Agri Cup. I am confident we can beat them,'' he said.