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Thailand’s women eye World Cup berth

FOOTBALL: Thailand are one of the favourites to win a World Cup berth at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup that kicks off tomorrow (Apr 6) in Jordan.

FootballBangkok Post

Thursday 5 April 2018, 11:31AM

Thailand’s Kanjana Sungngoen (left) in action against Norway at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. Photo: AFP

Thailand’s Kanjana Sungngoen (left) in action against Norway at the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada. Photo: AFP

The tournament serves as a World Cup qualifying round with five slots on offer for the 2019 finals in France.

The top two teams from both groups will qualify for next year’s World Cup while the two third-placed finishers will meet in a play-off for Asia’s final ticket.

Lady Luck smiled on Thailand during the draw as they were drawn to meet hosts Jordan, China and the Philippines in Group A. In Group B are Japan, Australia, South Korea and Vietnam.

The Thais will open their campaign tomorrow against China, hot favourites to top Group A.

Hopes are also running high they will edge past Jordan on April 9, and Nuengrutai Srathongvian’s team should have few problems against the Philippines in their final group game on April 12.

The women’s team were the first – and so far the only – Thai senior side to reach football World Cup finals, making their debut in Canada in 2015.

At the Women’s Asian Cup, only Japan can match Thailand’s 15 appearances in the tournament, with the Southeast Asians having been a part of all but three editions so far.

QSI International School Phuket

In the early years of the continental competition, Thailand were among the strongest sides, finishing as runners-up in three of the first four editions before being crowned champions in 1983 after defeating India 3-0 on home soil in Bangkok.

However, after those successful early years, Thailand largely struggled to advance beyond the group stage.

Four years ago in Vietnam, after suffering defeats to China and South Korea, Thailand secured a 2-1 victory over regional rivals Myanmar to book a fifth-place play-off date against the hosts with a spot at the 2015 World Cup up for grabs.

In front of 18,000 spectators in Ho Chi Minh, Thailand squeezed out another 2-1 win after a brace from Kanjana Sungngoen, as the Thais qualified for the global showpiece for the first time.

At the World Cup in Canada, Nuengrutai’s squad suffered 4-0 defeats against both Norway and Germany but ran out 3-2 winners over Ivory Coast, as they secured their maiden win in the tournament.

The team have also racked up five Southeast Asian Games titles.

Read original story here.



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