Thais brace for tough Singapore test

Both sides desperate to win tonight’s duel




Bangkok Post Public Company Limited


Thailand take on hosts Singapore in a 2026 Fifa World Cup qualifying battle which either side can’t afford to lose tonight. The Group C match of the second phase of Asian qualifiers will kick off at 7pm (Thai time) at Singapore National Stadium and will be broadcast live on Thai Rath TV (32). China showed grit against Thailand in the first match when they came from behind to win 2-1 in Bangkok on Thursday when Takayuki Nishigaya’s Singapore were routed 5-0 by Juergen Klinsmann’s South Korea in Seoul. Thailand need a win tonight to put their campaign back on track and save Mano Polking’s job as coach of the War Elephants. Sections of Thai fans have called for his head. There have been rumours that former Buriram United coach Masatada Ishii, ex-Vietnam boss Park Hang-Seo and former Cambodia manager Keisuke Honda are among contenders to replace Polking. Thailand will be without two key players — Chanathip Songkrasin and Pansa Hemviboon — who both limped off during the game against China. Polking is expecting a tough match with Singapore tonight. “We’re back in Singapore. We’ve fond memories of this place because we won the Asean championship here two years ago,” the German-Brazilian coach told a press conference. “It will be a difficult match for both teams. We are in the same situation after losing our first games. “It’s normal to feel pressure after losing an important match but we have to stay focused. “We must rise to the occasion. We must take the field with the intention to do our best and win the match. “We know Singapore well. They are a good team so we must not underestimate them. In this era, there are no easy games anymore. “Singapore lost to South Korea 5-0 but it was an away game. They will be also keen to win this match, so I don’t think we’ll have an easy game here.” Polking added: “We are without Chanathip and Pansa, who are both key members of our team. “However, it’s good to see that [striker] Teerasil Dandga is much better now and could be available for the Singapore game.” Teerasil, who has just returned from an injury, added that it is important that the team “do not make the same mistakes they committed against China. “We want to put our qualifying campaign back on track, so this is an important game for us. It’ll be an exciting match but we must produce a good result. “We have some Singaporean players at my club [BG Pathum United] and I can see that they have improved a lot over the past few years.”