Thailand will begin their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign against Vietnam at Rajamangala National Stadium tonight.
The match kicks off at 7pm with the other teams in Group F being Iraq, Indonesia and Taiwan.
“We have been training very hard for this match and our players are ready to face Vietnam,’’ said Thailand assistant coach Krairung Treejaksang who was assigned by head coach Kiatisak Senamuang to attend yesterday’s press conference.
“Vietnam have good teamwork and we watched them play North Korea.”
In their last warm-up matches, Vietnam drew 1-1 with North Korea in Hanoi while Thailand lost 1-0 to the same opponents in Bangkok.
Vietnam's Japanese coach Toshiya Miura said his team did not have pressure and that he was confident that they would get a result.
“Thailand are good and strong. But if we can play according to our tactics then we will have a good result,’’ he said.
“It will be both teams' first game and it is important to get a result in the first match.”
Miura also praised Kiatisak for bringing success to Thailand as player and coach.
Kiatisak is considered one of Thailand’s best strikers of all time. As coach, he has guided the U23 team to win the 2013 SEA Games and the full national side to claim the Southeast Asian title last year.
“He was well-known during his playing career. He is also successful as coach,’’ he said.
Vietnam striker Le Cong Vinh said Kiatisak was famous in Vietnam because he once played in the V-League.
“I have played against him in Olympic and World Cup qualifiers,’’ he said.
While Thailand have a superior head-to-head record against Vietnam, the striker said today’s match would be different.
“We are not here for vacation but to play our best football,’’ he said.
Thailand striker Adisak Kraisorn may start ahead of Teerasil Dangda who may not be fully fit following an illness.
The Thais will be led by midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin and defender Theerathon Bunmathan.
The eight group winners and four best runners-up advance to Asia’s final qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup.
Thailand have never reached the World Cup finals.
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NOTE FROM THE PHUKET NEWS SPORTS DESK:
Tonight's match, with a 7pm kickoff will be broadcast live on True Sports Channels 694 and 695, as well as on Thai Rath TV.