2016 Suzuki Cup preview: Looking at Thailand War Elephants
by rick olivares
Without a doubt, defending champions, Thailand, are still the favorites to annex a second consecutive Suzuki Cup championship. The youthful but solid roster is intact, and they’ve had good form of late.
Thailand has always fielded talented teams and one can never take them for granted. But this current squad that is coached by Kiatsuk “Zico” Senamuang is good and will continue to be so for the next few years. The only key player who is getting in on the years is defender Prathum Chuthong who will most likely make his Suzuki Cup swan song with this tournament.
What’s under the resume of this team? A Southeast Asian Games gold medal in 2013 and the Suzuki Cup a year later. Last June, they defeated Jordan, 2-0, to pocket the King’s Cup. Furthermore, Zico’s wards have also qualified for the 2019 AFC Asian Cup and the final round of the 2018 World Cup Russia Asian Qualifiers. You think they are satisfied? No. The results of the past few months have kept Thailand grounded and humble.
Most recently, the War Elephants went up against elite competition and went 0-2-4. But there’s a lot to learn and gain when you play against Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Japan, United Arab Emirates, and Australia. Especially that 2-2 draw against the Socceroos last November 15 in Bangkok. That’s a good way to head into the 2016 edition of the Suzuki Cup.
Zico employs a 3-5-2 formation where they like to send up numbers when they attack. They play the middle then find their speedy wingers when space opens up. It helps they have smooth finishers in strikers Teerasil Dangda and Siroch Chatthong.
Defensively, because of their commitment to fitness and conditioning, they press and tackle a lot. They also employ three defensive midfielders who like to take their foes’ rhythm away.
Basically, Thailand’s work ethic has made it possible for them to win. If anyone wants their crown, they’ll have to outwork them for it.
The Philippines and Thailand clash on November 25 at 8pm at the Philippine Arena.
Projected Thailand Starting XI
Kawin Thamsatchanan (GK)
Adison Promak Tanaboon Kesarat Prathum Chuthong
Tristan Do Saracch Yooyen Chanathip Songkrasin Pokklaw Anan Therathon Bunmathan
Teerasil Dangda Siroch Chatthong