Heady days – roll on September

By
Updated: June 6, 2016
Kroekrit Thawikan Thailand

Two games, two victories (albeit one on penalties) and King’s Cup success for the first time in nine years – Thailand were rightly jubilant with their weekend’s work.

Kroekrit Thawikan’s (celebrating above, pictured right) two strikes in the final were just reward for a resolute Thai side that absorbed Jordan pressure in the second half before catching their opponents out twice when they were chasing the game.

And perhaps the final, and the 2-2 draw in the semi-final against Syria on Friday, were clues as to how Thailand should approach the games that matter most – the World Cup qualifiers which begin this September.

Thailand will surely have to get men behind the ball and cede possession against the big guns of Australia and Japan. Yesterday’s second half showed they are able to absorb pressure when they have to, and then hit the opposition hard at the other end.

The Syria game on Friday was more of an expression of Thai flair going forward, and just how frail defensively they can be at times too. Earning a well-deserved 2-0 lead through Teerasil Dangda and Mongkol Tossakrai before half-time, the hosts showed glimpses of real creativity, both goals coming out of lovely midfield work involving Sanrawat Dechmitr and Sarach Yooyen.

After the break Syria really took the game to Thailand – and the hosts wobbled badly.

Tristan Do was given a torrid time by the opposition winger, and the centre-back pairing of Tanaboon Kesarat and Adison Promrak looked less than convincing. It was almost inevitable that Syria found their way back into the game, levelling things after Do was skinned on Thailand’s right and the centre-backs were marking air in the box.

Some calmly-taken penalty kicks (the unfortunate Sanrawat’s aside) ensured Thailand made the final and the defensive lapses and mental fragility of the second half were forgotten.

It was a different story last night against Jordan, let’s not forget a side 37 places above Thailand in the Fifa world rankings. On a sodden pitch, the first half was a drab affair with neither team able to penetrate, Thailand hogging possession but lacking a decent final ball, and Jordan happy to sit back.

It was only in the second half, with Jordan seemingly coming out with new purpose, that Thailand were able to cut through the opposition defence.

First, after good work on the right by Dangda, Kroekrit took advantage of lucky ricochet following his scuffed first effort and tucked his left foot shot firmly away. Then, with the game becoming more stretched, nice interplay on the right involving subs Sarawut Masuk and Adisak Kraisorn brought Kroekrit his second with a simple finish. Kawin Thamsatchanan made a few good saves but Thailand deserved the win.

Manager Zico might want to shuffle his pack for the big games ahead. Despite his goal, Mongkol looked unconvincing on the right of midfield, Bangkok Glass’ Sarawut offering a more energetic outlet when he came on.

He will also have decisions to make about his centre-back pairing, with Tanaboon, an impressive midfield anchor man for Muangthong United, sometimes not convincing at the back.

And Thailand will need a little more from Chanathip Songkrasin, who showed some nice flourishes in both games but was withdrawn second half by Zico in the final after going missing in the second half.

But there were plenty of plusses. Kroekrit again showed he has a goal or two in him for the national team, Sarach impressed in the middle of the park with his calm and intelligent distribution (although his set-pieces were disappointing at times) and Port’s Tana Chanabut offered a pacey cameo against Syria.

Thailand under Zico are frequently doubted, but are learning how to respond to setbacks. In Friday’s penalties and the second half on Sunday, they showed there is a real determination and togetherness in the team.

It is worrying they continue to let teams back into games, which was the case against Syria. They clearly panicked after the visitors got one back, and the second inevitably followed.

But in these two games, Zico has gained invaluable insights into the strengths and weaknesses of his squad. There are things to work on, but it can’t be denied these are exciting times for Thailand. Roll on September.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thai Goals, ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures, Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One

Thai Goals

Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup, AFC Champions League, AFC

ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures

Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One, Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup

ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures
Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup, AFC Champions League, AFC
Thai Goals, Thailand National Team, Thai Grounds, Thai Division One, Thai Regional League, Thai FA Cup, Thai League Cup< ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures ThaiGoals, Thailand Soccer, Thai Football, Premier League of Thailand, Thai Fixtures
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