Solid and defensively against Norway

Women's World Cup 2015 Even Pellerud

Norway's Coach Pellerud
(CC BY 2.0) Anders Henrikson

World Champion in 1995, Olympic Gold in 2000, and European Champion in 1987 and 1993. That is how the triumphs of Thailand's first group opponent Norway read. While the Norwegians could assert themselves, however, steadily as one top nation in women's football, the Asian Champion of 1983 meanwhile has fallen far behind nations like Japan, China and Korea.

Even Pellerud is the coach of the Norwegian national team and is now in charge for a second time after 1989-1996. Two years ago he lost the European Final against Thailand's other group opponent Germany. Though Silvia Neid's troop won at the end scarcely by a goal from Anja Mittag it was Norway who looked to be the better side in the Final. For the Scandinavian Pellerud it will be already his 6th Women's World Cup.

Norway's squad at the 2015 World Cup is shaped of 14 players who played the Euro Final against Germany two years. Including three who are playing their trade abroad. Ada Hegerberg of Olympique Lyons, Kristine Minde of Linköpings FC and Nora Holstad who just recently won the German Frauen-Bundsliga with FC Bayern München. Overall, the team is a very good melange of very experienced and less experienced players
Rønning, Gulbrandsen and Herlovsen together, have played more than 400 international matches for Norway alone.

On his "Road to Canada" Norway have scored 41 goals and the defence around Mjaren Melde and Nora Holstad allowed only five goals. Norway has won away to the Netherlands, 2-1, but lost its home tie 0-2. So there will be plenty of hard work for Thailand's defence with skipper Sritala. Similar to the friendly against the Netherlands early that year.

Pellerud must renounce of Norway's biggest talents. The 20 year-old winger Caroline Graham Hansen (VfL Wolfsburg) had to call off her participation at World Cup 2015 because of a long term injury.

What matters for Thailand today against Norway seems obvious. To hold his own and to concede as less as possible. Hence, coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien is likely to send a very much compact and defensive 4-5-1-Formation on the pitch. If it is true what we have heard, Anootsara Maijarern will play left back instead of Sunisa Srangthaisong. With latter to move one up, and playing in midfield.

This should not be a big problem for both. They are not only one of the most experienced players in the squad. Both are also used to playing on these different positions. And because Srangthaisong is not the quickest, this one seems to be good choice. Besides, Maijarern is very dangerous with her free kicks, and it is certainly good to have her on the pitch if a chance arises. However, Thailand won't get many chances if any.

In the central defensive midfield position we expect Pikul Khueanpet & Naphat Seesraum. The 21-year-old Silawan Intamee will operate in the role as central midfielder. Right behind the only attacking force, Kanjana Sungngoen.

In the other match of  Group B, Germany will face Ivory Coast. Yesterday the Africans trained behind closed doors and there is still little everybody knows about them yet. In view of the so important second group game against the Ivory Coast, it is an advantage for Thailand to have at least one match from which they could take some knowledge.

On the other hand, it could be also to the disadvantage of Thailand to play against Norway first. Doubtless Germany and Norway will advance to the round of the last 16. But in case of a draw between the two, goal difference would decide at the end on whom will top the group. So we can expected the Scandinavians to come out fully motivated and hungry for goals.

Norway vs Thailand can be watched on Channel 3 in Thailand, on BBC Red Button in UK and via livestream on the ZDF in Germany.
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