“We have nothing to lose,” asserted Thailand coach Kiatisuk Senamuang ahead of his side’s key 2018 World Cup qualifying clash against Japan, and it’s with this in mind that the War Elephants mentor has promised an attacking approach to Tuesday’s match.
Both Thailand and Japan lost their opening matches of the final round of qualifying, meaning that this week’s clash already has a must-win element to it.
However, while Japan are seasoned campaigners at football’s showpiece event, Thailand have never qualified for the World Cup, with their progression to the current stage of qualifying considered a great achievement. The contrasting histories of the two teams means that it’s Japan who will be feeling the pressure most in Bangkok on Tuesday, and Kiatisuk is determined for his side to take advantage of this.
— ย่องมายิง (@Yong_MaYing) August 25, 2016
“Both teams are in the same situation because we lost our first matches,” he told reporters. “The Japanese should be under more pressure. We have reached this stage [of the qualifiers] only for the second time so we have nothing to lose.
“We will not play a defensive game [tomorrow], but then I expect the same from them.
“I have told my players that we have to get points from such home matches. We played well against the Saudis but still lost. We must win this game.”
While Thailand will be roared on by a partisan crowd at the Rajamangala National Stadium in hot conditions, Kiatisuk does not believe that the conditions will play too much of a role in the match, with playing at home not a “major advantage”.
“The weather would not help us either,” said Kiatisuk. “They [the Japanese] have been here for a few days now and they must have adapted themselves to the climate here.
“We have to go out there and put in our best effort in the hope of stealing three points from them. We have to put our campaign back on track.”