Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Oman v Thailand Preview

Oman v Thailand (Wednesday)

Thailand need to win at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat while at the same time they must hope that the Socceroos don't take their foot off the gas and beat Saudi Arabia in Melbourne. An Australia and Thailand double would ensure that the Thais progress to the next qualifying section for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.

This qualifying campaign started well for the War Elephants despite losing their opening game 2-1 to Australia in Brisbane. That narrow defeat was followed by a splendid 3-0 win over Oman along with a well earned point in a goalless draw with the Saudis at the Rajamangala Stadium.

After three games, Thailand were in second spot in Group D and looking good for advancing to the fourth round. Since then though, Thailand were easily beaten 3-0 by Saudi Arabia in Riyadh and in November they lost 1-0 at home to Australia at the Supachalasai.

It's been three games now since the Thai attack have scored a goal in this group, plus conceding five goals in two away games suggests that the odds are against Thailand qualifying for the next stage.

It also won't help that the squad that traveled to Oman has several players unavailable through injury and suspension. The lack of adequate preparation caused by an extended 2011 season meant the Schaefer's troops could play only one warm up match which was an unchallenging encounter with Maldives last Friday.

Oman are a tough side to beat on home territory and this was highlighted when they beat Australia 1-0 in a recent World cup qualifier. The Omani side will be backed by a passionate home crowd although last week they overstepped the mark as crowd disturbances marred their 3-0 loss to South Korea in an Olympic qualifier. The Oman Football Association now awaits disciplinary action from FIFA.

The game will be shown live on Channel 9 at 16.30 on Wednesday.

Good luck Thailand!!

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