WC Countdown: Group F – Thailand

Next up in group F is no other than Thailand!

It was only back in 2015 that Thailand made it to their first World Cup, and their first run at it was not the most successful, as they had to say goodbye after the group stages. The team, also nicknamed Chaba Kaew, qualified for France after making it to the semifinals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, where they ended up finishing fourth – their best result in 32 years. Thailand began the tournament by losing out 4-0 to China, but then they won against Jordan and the Philippines to make it through to the last four, where they tied 2-2 with Australia and only just missed out on the final after losing on penalties. In the game for the third place they came up against China again and lost, this time 3-1.

Kanjana Sungngoen is one of the most important names in the squad, having secured their qualification for the 2015 edition of the tournament with two crucial goals against Vietnam. The forward was also a very important puzzle piece for Thailand’s qualification this time around, and she contributed with three goals at the Women’s Asian Cup. Sungngoen is extremely fast, and her movements on the pitch are at times undetectable, as she seems to move without moving. Another crucial name in the squad is Rattikan Thongsombut, the midfielder with a high work rate who is used to putting in a shift on the midfield as well as scoring goals. She scored against Australia in the semifinal of the Women’s Asian Cup and her goal would’ve taken them through, had it not been for the Matildas’ 91st-minute equalizer.

Thailand women's national football team
Celebrating their qualification, source

Coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien is one of only nine female coaches going to the World Cup this summer. She has already coached the team once, leading them to their first ever appearance at a World Cup in 2015, as well as their first win in the tournament when they beat Ivory Coast 3-2. She then left the position but returned in October 2017 and has managed to repeat the feat of qualifying her team for the finals. She doesn’t seem to have a consistent style in her choice of formation but rather prefers to mix it up in the months leading to the tournament. A 4-2-3-1, as well as a 4-4-2, has seemed to be working well for the team so far.

In June last year, they played the AFF Women’s Championship, where they mopped the floor with opponents like Cambodia and Malaysia, and they even beat Australia twice. They also played the Women’s Asian Games but ended up losing all three games. In Thailand’s first time participating at the Cyprus Women’s Cup, that is a warm-up tournament in the spring ahead of the tournament involving teams from all over the world, they only managed to win against Hungary but lost out to Mexico, Italy and Nigeria. Thereafter they played friendlies against France and Belgium, which they both lost.

That’s a roundup on Thailand, the second team in group F. They’ve got quite a tough lot to go up against, with the likes of the USA and Sweden battling it out for a first place in the group. Do you believe that Thailand could upset any of these teams? Leave a comment below!

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