the-afc.com reports on the recent friendlies between Australia and Thailand
The Futsalroos put up a tough fight against the ASEAN giants in the first match before ultimately succumbing to a 4-3 defeat on May 18 at Suphaburi Indoor Stadium before the Thais again put four past the Futsalroos, running out 4-2 winners two days later.
Two days later, the East and Asean representatives in upcoming Asian Futsal Championship locked horns again and the Thais emerged comfortable 4-2 winners.
“I was impressed with how the players performed throughout the game. This practice match served its purpose in identifying areas we need to improve on before the tournament begins in Dubai. Although we matched with a team that I think will do well at the World Cup we need to stay grounded and focus on our goal at the AFC Championships,” Australia coach Steve Knight told the official website of Football Federation of Australia.
Thailand, the 2008 AFC Futsal Championship runners-up to Iran, are pooled in Group A alongside hosts UAE, and Central Asians Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. They will kick start their campaign on May 25 against Kyrgyzstan followed by ties against Turkmenistan and hosts UAE in subsequent matches on May 26 and 27.
Led by former Iran and the Netherlands coach Victor Hermans, the Thais qualified for the finals after winning all their matches of the ASEAN qualifiers. And with the Thais hosting FIFA Futsal World Cup in November, they are gauranteed a place at the global futsal extravaganza regardless of their position in the AFC Futsal Championship. If Thailand manage to secure a place in the semi-finals then the fifth-ranked team will get the qualifications for the World Cup.
Australia is in a tough Group C featuring 10-time champions Iran, Korea Republic and debutants Qatar who qualified for the finals after beating Kuwait in the final of the West Zone qualifiers.
The Futsalroos will open their campaign against Qatar at the Al-Shabab Stadium on 25 May, then against Korea Republic the next day with their final group match against favourites IR Iran to be held at the Al Wasl Stadium on 27 May.