Oz favourites, tough for Thailand

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Updated: May 6, 2016
Australia national team

By pure chance, on a recent flight up to Khon Kaen I ran into Zico, the coach of the Thailand national team. I had a good chat with him about Thailand’s World Cup qualifiers while we were queuing up to board the flight. He struck me as a very humble and open man. It was enlightening listening to him talking about his vision for Thai football. What’s impressive about him is that he’s come from very humble beginnings in Khon Kaen to make it to the top of Thai football.

It’s an exciting time to be involved in football here. There is a real buzz around the game which you can really feel, thanks to the success of the national team. It’s great to see the nation unite behind their heroes.

It’s a tough group (Group B) Thailand are in, where they are up against Australia and Japan (as well as Iraq, UAE and Saudi Arabia). I fancy Australia to win the group and make it to the World Cup. Japan are strong, of course, but I think Australia are performing well at the minute. Tactically, Australia are very solid and they have a good coaching philosophy and structure in place. Having played under Ange Postecoglou at Brisbane Roar, I know he will have the Socceroos prepared.

They also have some very good players. One to watch is Massimo Luongo, who plays for Queen’s Park Rangers in the English Championship and is an attacking midfielder. He has great vision and movement in and around the ball, and can pick out a pass from nowhere. Another one who should be an attacking threat is Tom Rodic, who’s playing well for Celtic in Scotland. It’s a tough league to break into up there. He still has only 15 caps for Australia, but he’s an emerging talent and expect him to have a good impact in the qualifiers.

It’s a great opportunity for Thailand, coming up against these teams. They need really competitive games against the best in Asia to develop. And let’s not forget, Thailand have some very good players, not only technically but now also physically. I feel away from home it will be difficult for them, so they will have to at a minimum pick up points at home. I am sure that no one will be taking Thailand lightly.

Thailand will have to be defensively strong as a unit. They will have to be disciplined, structured and organised. Up front, Chanathip “Messi J”, who has started well for Muangthong United this season, will be a key player. There will be fewer chances than you get in the domestic league, so Thailand’s attacking players will have to take any chances they get.

As for Bangkok Glass, this is a big month for the team, as we are playing the top sides. Despite being early on in the season, this will be a good judge to see how far we have come from last year. Bangkok United, Chonburi, Buriram and Suphanburi will provide big tests for us. Like I’ve said all along, I want our team to perform better than last season and this is a good opportunity to challenge ourselves and enjoy the occasion.

One player who has impressed for us this season is Toti (Daniel Garcia Rodriguez, pictured below). He came in during the second half of last season, and it probably didn’t go as he would have wished. It often takes foreign players some time to adapt to Thailand. But this season he has stepped up a level. He’s playing very, very well and chipped in with a few goals too. He links play nicely and obviously has a good Spanish football education behind him. He’s composed on the ball, but also does his fair share of chasing down for the team. He’s come into his own.

Toti Bangkok Glass

Since my last blog post we’ve had a busy schedule. We won a tricky League Cup match away to Yala FC (a 3pm kick off meant a real test of character). We lost 4-3 to Ratchaburi away, which was disappointing as we conceded four very soft goals. However, after that defeat we had two wins, away to Chang Rai and home to Navy.

We have picked up and played some nice football in these recent matches. However, we have to stay focused and disciplined in our approach, regardless of the team or the scoreline.

Finally, I want to thank the BGFC fans for making the away trips. You have covered great distances and on behalf of the team, thank you.

 

Matt Smith is the captain of Bangkok Glass FC and a former Australia international.

 

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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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