Thailand and Australia Shift Focus to Final Group Match

Australia’s second win of the tournament, against the Philippines, saw them confirm their place on top of Group B. Meanwhile, despite their 4-0 win over Indonesia, the Chaba Kaew remain in third place.

Hosts India withdrew from the tournament due to COVID-19 cases among the players, changing the group stage dynamics. As per normal, the two best third-placed sides will still qualify for the quarter finals, but now results against the 4th teams of each groups will not be counted in those rankings.

Vietnam’s failure to beat Myanmar means that Thailand are almost certain to qualify for the knockout stage, as long as they avoid a heavy defeat at the hands of Australia.

The Chaba Kaew’s performance against Indonesia was much improved from their encounter against Philippines. Experienced players Sunisa Srangthaisong and Taneekarn Dangda played from the first minute. Wingers Kanyanat Chetthabutr (who score the hat-trick) and Irravadee Makris (who scored the final goal) caught the eye during this match. Okamoto’s decision to change the formation from 4-4-2 to 4-3-3 also gave them a fluid transition from attack to defence and vice versa. This is what they need to face Australia.

While the top trio looks will likely remain unchanged, I think Okamoto will add Silawan Intamee and Waraporn Boonsing into the first eleven to face Australia. Silawan on the left and Sunisa on the right will be the first one responsible to stop both Elli Carpenter and Stephanie Catley from overlapping and delivering the ball to Sam Kerr.

Okamoto is also likely to adopt a more defensive game, in anticipation of how fast and compact the Matildas are. Thailand held Australia to a 2-2 draw when they met in the quarter-finals of the 2018 edition of the tournament, but repeating the feat will probably be difficult.

F.X. Steven

Football Addict, Philosophy Student and an Amateur Poet.

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