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Thais facing Germany at the Womens World Cup

Thai women's national team Silvia Neid

Germany's coach Silvia Neid
image: © thai-fussball.com

When we said: If we could spare a wish for the draw to the FIFIA Women's World Cup 2015, and we would like to see Thailand have to play against Germany, we seriously never wouldn't dream of it.

Beside the reigning European champions from Germany, Thailand is going to face UEFA Women's Euro finalist Norway and the Ivory Coast which could finished the most recent edition of the African Women's Championship in third place. Unlike the German Football Association, head coach Silvia Neid and international Kim Kulig, we cannot join in the choir of the "unknown opponent" of course. After all we sit at the other end and Germany and Norway are very well known in the world of women's football.

Thus the DFB headlined his web page on Sunday, accompanied with a picture of Thailand's new heroine Kanjana Sang-ngoen: "World Cup group opponent Thailand: The big unknown from Asia". Right after the draw the German coach went on record to say: "Asian teams are renowned for their strong technical ability". To be fair, and most probably, we couldn't have said more in her position. At least, she is right with her generally held statement.

However, both sides are not that unfamiliar as proclaimed. In some sort. In 2004, under the reign of Silvia Neid, Germany faced Thailand at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Bangkok. In the squad for Germany at that time: Annike Krahn, Melanie Behringer, Lena Gössling, Anja Mittag, Célia Šašić and Simone Laudehr. They are now all part of Germany's current senior squad, like Anootsara Maijarern, Supaphon Kaewbaen, Naphat Seesraum, Orathai Srimanee, Pikul Khueanpet, and Duangnapa Sritala with Thailand.

Although Germany is the big favorite to top Group B and to outplay the Thai girls, Germany takes it serious. Only a few hours after draw the German Football Association has contacted the Laotian federation, asking for information on Thailand and for video footage of the opponent as we have been informed.

But beside the tie in 2004, both sides have never met again yet. So Thai coach Nuengruethai Sathongwien surely didn't said for a reason that she and her side is happy to meet Germany, because one doesn't know when Thaialnd will have another opportunity to play them. Considering that both sides are separated by only 29 places in the FIFA ranking, it again talks volume about the Thai FA and how much she care about the women's game. North Korea for example has been touring through Europe and played in the recent edition of the Algarve-Cup like China did.

The last time Thailand and last years finalist of the Women's Euro, Norway, played each other was in 1988 in the course of an invitation tournament in China. Thailand lost the encounter  0-4. Of the current Norwegian squad, names like Nora Holstad Berge (FC Bayern München) and Caroline Graham Hansen (VfL Wolfsburg) are familiar names for those who follow European women's football closely, be it the Champions League or the Bundesliga. And Kristine Minde travelled to Bangkok at the beginning of the year with her club Linköpings FC to play a friendly against the Thai national team.

The Ivory Coast which is expected to fight for the third place together with the Thais in Group B, has taken a big leap forward during the last years. Just in 2012 they have exit at the group stage of the African Championship. Two years later the Ivorians could finish third and acknowledged defeat to Cameroon in the semi-final. With Tia Vino Ines N'Rehy who plays in Serbia for Subotica and the 19-year-old defender Miriam Diakite the Ivorians hold two great talents in their ranks of whom we certainly will hear a lot more in future.
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