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AFC Futsal Championship: Anything goes for Thailand

Thai Futsal National Team Suphawut Thueanklang

Superstar Suphawut Thueanklang
image: thai-fussball.com

When the 13th AFC Futsal Championship begins on 1 Mai, Thailand is going to enter the tournament as joint favourite. Good performances provided, Thailand could avoid Iran and Japan in the knock-out stage and battle for the crown against one of the two in the Final.

2014 stands completely in the sign of Asian Championships. In May the Women's Asian championship is lined up, in September and October then the U-16 and U-19 competitions in football. The prelude, however, will be done by the Futsal with his search for the best team of Asia. But differently than in football, Thailand goes into the race as favorite. Okay with currently being ranked as 16th best nation in the futsal world one doesn't belong with the 10 best any more like it was the case still a few years ago. But with Suphawut Thueanklang, Thailand has one of the best and finest futsal player in Asia in his ranks and the Chonburi Blue Wave are still reigning club champion of Asia.

Last autumn, Vic Hermans' troop could master the qualification brilliantly. Without great difficulties and without dropping a single point Thailand came out on top of its group. And in contrast to the last year, the Dutchman has no reason to grumble this time. The since this year under the direction of "Siam Inter Multimedia" organised domestic league runs very well. She is now having a break for and since a few weeks and the league schedule is obviously tuned perfectly to the needs of the national team.

With a regular league and a season which lasts almost the whole year he knows his players in good fitness. Hence, a 2-week preparation are sufficient according to his opinion. During these 2 weeks a total of three test games were played. Two wins, against Chiang Mai (5-0) and Australia (4-2) and an astonishing loss against Indonesia (1-2) are the results. However, the match against the Southeast-Asian rival was played without superstar Suphawut. He got injured against Australia and the shock was big as it seemed he could be out several weeks and miss the championship. But everything is okay and he must pause only one week.

Though it is quite possibly that he is spared in the group games which Thailand enters as a clear favorite. With Lebanon, Chinese Taipei and Malaysia in Group C, Vic Herman and his boys were handed a relatively easy draw and they could avoid all the heavyweights for the moment. The finalist of 2012 should avoid, however, any slip by all means. Since in the quarterfinals either the group winner or the runner-up from Group D is waiting. There, defending champion Japan is playing, and both sides, the Thais and the Japanese, would evade each other only by finishing their group as winner respectively. If it would come like this, Thailand would have a Gmaade Wiesn like a phrase goes in Bavaria, Germany. Which means nothing more else than: Thailand would have an easy path to the final. Because both joint favorites, Japan and Iran, assuming both are winning their groups, would face each in the semi-final at the latest.

After a great World Championship 2012 on his home soil, Chonburi on the throne for club sides in Asia, and thanks to a lucky draw for this tournament, Thailand maybe could lift the Trophy on the 10th of May. It is the right time to break through the phalanx of the two only winners since the tournament has been introduced in 1999. Japan and Iran.
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