Thais hope to gun down hosts India
[SOCCER] Thailand are hoping that a victory over India today will provide the spark for their hopes of qualifying for the Olympics for the first time in almost four decades.
Prapol Pongpanich's side crashed to a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of North Korea in the Group E opener of the 2008 Olympic qualifying second round, which severely dampened Thailand's chances of making it to the finals in Beijing for the first time since 1968 in Mexico.
With a tough game against Iraq to follow, the Thai team feels that it is imperative to claim maximum points from the trip to India, who is deemed as the weakest in the group, in order to revive their campaign in the group-stages.
"It's a vital match which could determine our fate in the group. I told the lads that we are now in a make or break situation. Our destiny depends on the result of this match. I hope the players will realise and respond with a good performance," said team manager Kasem Jariyawatwong.
"If you ask me whether I am confident that the team will win tomorrow, the only answer is yes. We've nothing to lose and if the lads play to their standards, three points will be in our hands at the end," he said.
Having seen his side spurn a host of chances against North Korea a fortnight ago, Prapol hopes the players will show much more clinical finishing in front of the goal.
"We'll definitely go all out on attack. But we must remember that we are away from home so we cannot attack carelessly. We have to be careful. Our attack will be better than in the previous match," Prapol said.
"If our finishing is good, we'll claim victory. And if we commit too many errors and fail to take chances, we'll be doomed."