A big game comes to us from the Round of 16 at the AFC Asian Cup 2019 tournament, as China PR take on Thailand to decide who the best truly is.
Ahead of the game, we happened to come across some very interesting details regarding the two sides, and thanks to Opta, we can share them before the match is underway. Here are some key facts ahead of the crunch clash-
#5 Solitary stalemate
China PR and Thailand haven’t met in head to head competition as many times as you may have thought, and in the Asian Cup, only one meeting has ever taken place between the two sides.
Thailand and China PR drew their only previous meeting at the Asian Cup – a 0-0 stalemate during the 1992 group stages.
#4 Unfamiliar territory for Thailand
Thailand have reached the knockout stages of the Asian Cup for just the second time, with their previous appearance coming in their 1972 tournament in which they hosted, finishing in third place.
Heading into this clash against China PR, their confidence will be high and they may just fancy their chances.
#3 China PR – Been there, done that
China PR have made it through to the knockout stages in back to back Asian Cup tournaments – this will be their ninth appearance in the knockout stages of the competition whilst only Iran (12) and Korea Republic (10) have made it through to this stage on more occasions.
Pressure should be reduced as a result, but they will be wary of Thailand nonetheless.
#2 A historic struggle for Thailand
Thailand have won just two of their 23 matches at the Asian Cup since their debut in the competition back in 1972 (W2 D9 L12), a 2-0 victory against Oman during the 2007 group stages and a 1-0 win against Bahrain on MD2 at this year’s Asian Cup.
Not a great record to have heading into a clash with a team like China PR, but this young Thai side does appear to have that extra bit to give in order to pull off a win.
#1 Zhang the great
China PR’s Zhang Linpeng was the only outfield player in their squad to play every minute of the 2019 Asian Cup group stages.
That means a largely fresh bunch of players to play against Thailand, which only makes a difficult task more daunting for the War Elephants.