A mentally positive India will look forward to lock horns with Thailand also known as “The White Elephants” in the ongoing King’s Cup tournament.
Team Overview: India
India played the first match of the tournament against Curacao and lost the match by 3-1. There were numerous defensive errors committed by Indian defenders and a lot of space in India’s half were awarded to the Carribean players. Curacao is a strong team that has many players that plays their trade in top European league.
Although India lost the opening fixture of the tournament to bow out of the final race against a physically superior side Curacao, coach Igor Stimac did fill up the expectations of Indian football fans with his tactics that mainly involves possession and ball control. Six players made their debut in that match and some of them seems to impress the coach.
Thailand on the other hand went down to Vietnam in a nail-biting contest after a howler from the Thai Goalkeeper in the dying minutes of the match. Vietnam team mostly consists of under 23 players and is regarded as one of the fast improving teams in south-east Asia. Thailand played well against Vietnam but left heartbroken when the referee blew the final whistle. They will now play against India to clinch the 3rd spot of the tournament
Injuries remained a concern for both the teams as India will miss the services of regulars like Jeje Lalpekhlua and Halicharan Narzary. Thailand suffered a heavy setback when their star attacking midfielder Chanatip Songkrasin suffered from a muscle tear in his left leg while playing for Japanese club Consadole Sapporo.
Predicted Starting line up:
Indian coach Igor Stimac hinted at the press conference to include few more new players in the lineup to test their ability. Amarjit Kiyam impressed the coach in the match against Curacao and might get a place in the starting XI
India starting XI(4-2-3-1):
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Pritam Kotal,Sandesh Jhingan, Rahul Bheke, Subhasish Bose, Amarjit Kiyam, Brandon Fernandez,Michael Soosairaj,Udanta Singh, Sahal Abdul Samad and Sunil Chhetri.
Thailand are yet to decide on their new coach and currently under the guidance of Sirisak Yodyardthai. Despite the previous lost against Vietnam, the coach might go ahead with an unchanged squad.
Thailand starting XI(3-4-2-1):
Kawin Thamsatchanan, Adison Promrak, Pansa Hemviboon, Suphan Thongsong, Tristan Do, Sarach Yooyen, Tanaboon Kesarat, Theerathon Bunmathan, Thitiphan Puangchan, Supachai Jaided, Supachok Sarachat
India and Thailand previously met in 2019 AFC Asian Cup where Thailand dealt with a 4-1 hammerblow from India. Revenge will be on the minds of White Elephants when they clash with India on 8th June in Chang Arena, Buriram.
will look to end their campaign in the King’s Cup football tournament on a positive note when they take on hosts Thailand in the third-place play-off match here Saturday.
While revenge will be on Thailand’s mind after the 4-1 in the AFC Asian Cup in January.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference, India coach Igor Stimac made clear his intentions of continuing from where his team left off against Curacao. Despite a brave effort in the second half, India lost 3-1 to Curacao.
“We want to try a different approach and structure to the one that was played in earlier times. Despite us losing our previous match, fans were happy with the style of play against a strong team like Curacao. Our intention shall remain the same against Thailand,” he said.
The coach informed that he plans to give chances to the players who did not feature against Curacao.
“I want to see everyone on the pitch, and each of them deserves a chance to prove themselves. Tomorrow, I shall give chances to other players as well so that we have harder selection decisions to make in the future,” Stimac said.
“We are still in the early stages and there is no fear of getting results at this time. It’s important for us to be free of injury concerns so that we can continue our preparation ahead of the Intercontinental Cup in India.”
Centre-back Sandesh Jhingan, who played a pivotal role in India’s last win against Thailand, said that while the 4-1 victory was great, the upcoming encounter will be a different ball game altogether.
“It was a great result for us in the AFC Asian Cup but now things have changed on both sides. This game is a different one. We shall step on to the pitch tomorrow with the right character, and determination, and play according to our plan. Hopefully we get the right result,” the defender quipped.
Stimac touched upon the positives the team drew from the Curacao match, including the fact that six players made their debut.
“We had six players make their debuts for India on Wednesday which is fantastic for Indian football. The introduction of youngsters is important, and they are our real strength,” he stated.