Published on July 12, 2007
Upsets have been a regular feature of the continent's top-flight competition. Despite the event being only five days old, there have been a lot of surprises, with Group B leaders Vietnam's 2-0 win over the Gulf Cup winners United Arab Emirates, and Indonesia's 2-1 triumph over Bahrain in Group D, the most notable ones.
Chanvit's men must have felt jealous of those results after they had to settle for a hard-fought, if slightly fortuitous, 1-1 draw with Iraq in the rain-soaked curtain-raiser on Saturday, which was shrouded in controversy over an early penalty to the Thais. The referee seemingly made a harsh decision to judge Ali Hussein Rehema's challenge on veteran striker Kiartisak Senamuang as a foul.
Pre-tournament favourites Australia's surprising 1-1 draw with Oman in another Group A match appeared to have a negative rather than positive effect on the Thai team's chances of qualifying for the knock-out stage for the first time since 1972 when they also hosted the tournament.
Anything less than a victory over Oman - the Gulf Cup runners-up - would leave Chanvit's side in a dire situation considering that the Australian team are their next opponents. The scenario would look even worse for the hosts if coach Graham Arnold's side still need points from Monday's match to qualify. Aside from attempting to claim maximum points, the Kingdom also have a score to settle with Oman after the Middle East team beat them 2-0 in their previous Cup meet in China three years ago.
Despite the tempting desire to gain revenge, Chanvit is well aware how dangerous Oman are after watching Gabriel Calderon's side come within seconds of pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the tournament's history only for Everton star Tim Cahill to save the Australians' blushes at the death on Sunday. He believed his side have what it takes to overcome the Middle East team, though.
"We need three points from the Oman game so the pressure is already there. My lads must turn the pressure into determination and commitment to score a win just like Vietnam and Indonesia," said Chanvit.
"In the first game, the Australians had trouble with the humid conditions and that gave Oman a chance of putting their pace to maximum use. It will be different this time, though. Our players are as quick as them. We'll counter them with the same threat.
"I'm hoping the weather will be kind to us tomorrow. If it rains, it will be difficult for us to play in our normal style. We desperately want three points and I hope fans would show up in numbers to cheer on the team to a victory," said Chanvit.
Chanvit is sweating on the fitness of first-choice centre-back Jetsada Jitsawad who is struggling with a thigh injury. In case Jetsada is unable to play, Chanvit has to choose either Kiartprawut Saiwaew or Patiparn Phetphun to play in tandem with Niweat Siriwong at the heart of the defence.
Oman's Argentine coach Calderon is in a buoyant mood after his side almost stunned the continent with their display against the Australians. He is eyeing a win over the hosts today.
The game will take place at Rajamangala National Stadium.