Thailand, who were knocked out in the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 by Malaysia last month, have been bolstered by the return of their three overseas-based stars going into the AFC Asian Cup 2019.
One of them is their star striker Teerasil Dangda who will definitely give India’s defence a problem or two as they open their AFC Asian Cup campaign at the Al Nahyan Stadium in Sharjah on Sunday.
“The team’s preparations have been good and we are ready for tomorrow’s game. But definitely it will not be an easy game as we are aware that India are a team that have improved lately,” Teerasil said in the news conference ahead of the game.
“But we will try our best to get the best outcome from the match,” said the striker who will appear in the second Asian Cup of his career. His first in the tournament was 12 years back when Thailand last played the continental championship.
“The first game is very important for us. It will be my second Asian Cup. And after an absence of 12 years, we are determined to do a good job in the biggest tournament in Asia,” said Teerasil, who was a 19-year-old up-and-coming attacker when the Asian Cup visited Southeast Asia back in 2007.
Teerasil has gone on to become one of the biggest stars in Thai football and played for J League club Sanfrecce Hiroshima last season scoring six league goals in 32 appearances for the Japanese club.
“To go and play football in Japan made it possible for me to have many new experiences in terms of physical conditions as well as various playing methods. I hope the experience in Japan will enable me to help my national team here,” said Teerasil.
“And from age and experience, it is probably the best moment in my career. I hope that this tournament will be my best one yet. I hope it will be the same for my teammates as well,” said the 30-year-old who has over 90 caps for Thailand .