Asian Cup 2019: Thailand vs India | Match preview, predictions, venue, and probable line-up
The wait is over as India embarks its much-awaited AFC Asian Cup campaign - 4th time in the history. Two Asian countries going through a phase of football revolution comes face-to-face at the Al Nahyan Stadium at Abu Dhabi on Sunday evening.
Thailand has arrived at UAE to prove their worth. They are placed 118 on the FIFA Rankings They are coming into the tournament with five wins in their last eleven fixtures. However, they lost 2-0 to Oman a few days back, with whom India managed a goalless draw in the previous week. The Serbian manager Milovan Rajevac would be confident of winning the match but it would be a tough one for the South East Asian country. After India, Thailand will face Bahrain on 10th and UAE on the 14th of this month.
On the other hand, India took off to UAE with a huge load of dreams. Sunil Chhetri & Co will have huge expectations when taking the field at the Abu Dhabi stadium on Sunday. The Blue Tigers had displayed impressive performances against China and Jordan, which would be a morale booster at the big stage. The English manager, who has been secretive about his game plan, might go for different tactics from the usual long-ball plan. India will play UAE on 10th and Bahrain on 14th January in their other group stage fixtures.
Thailand would be missing goalkeeper Kawin Thamsatchanan, known as "Flying Kawin" due to an injury. Otherwise, the War Elephants has a talented squad with good depth. Theerathon Bunmathan would be a crucial presence at the defense. The duo of Teerasil Dangda and Chanathip Songkrasin will pose a lot of threat to the Indian backline.
India have no major injury concerns. Gurpreet Singh Sandhu will be key to the game. While Sandesh Jhingan will play a key role at the defense, Udanta Singh's crosses to Sunil Chhetri in the box will be crucial.
Thailand (4-2-3-1): Chatchai Budprom, Theerathon Bunmathan, Pansa Hemviboon, Chalermpong Kerdkaew, Tristan Do, Thitipan Puangchan, Tanaboon Kesarat, Sumanya Purisai, Chanathip Songkrasin, Adisak Kraisorn, Teerasil Dangda
India (4-4-2): Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Narayan Das, Anas Edathodika, Sandesh Jhingan, Pritam Kotal, Halicharan Narzary, Pronay Halder, Anirudh Thapa, Udanta Singh, Sunil Chhetri, Jeje Lalpekhlua
Thailand's most lethal player will be midfielder Chanathip Songkrasin. The 25-year old has been a valuable player both for his club and country. Songkrasin, also known as "Messi Jay" will also play a key role. He is quick and will be a real threat to the Indian defense. Teerasil Dangda is another player to watch out for. He is a very clinical striker and will give the Indian defense a tough time.
Sunil Chhetri will lead India's attack. The experienced striker will have a huge role at the front, score goals and create chances. However, his co-striker Jeje Lalpekhlua's poor form will be a concern for India. Gurpreet Sandhu is expected to have a busy day between the sticks.
Rankings go in favor of the Blue Tigers. Thailand has made some glittering performances recently and has star performers from the J1 League. However, Stephen Constantine's team looks confident to pull off a thriller. Goals will be at a premium.
Predicted Score - Thailand 0:1 India