Despite the 4-0 result against Thailand in Tuesday’s Group B of 2018 World Cup qualifier, centre-back Maya Yoshida was not impressed by his side’s performance.
Yet he found the time to give Chanathip Songkrasin – fondly known as “Messi J” across Southeast Asia – his best wishes.
“Thailand have improved a lot,” Yoshida told ESPN FC after the match.
“I spoke to Chanathip, who will come to Consadole Sapporo in the summer. I told him he would have to be a leader for his country and show his best form. I wished him the best of luck and I hope that Thailand’s football future is bright.”
Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima was also impressed by Chanathip Songkrasin, and the Thailand performance in general, despite the fact that the visitors missed a penalty and failed to convert several gilt-edged chances.
“I thought Thailand were really impressive because they are physically and technically very good,” Kawashima said to ESPN.
“We struggled a lot in the first half and I have to say I was really impressed by them. Chanathip and Siroch Chatthong were particularly strong, but the whole team was good. Thailand are much stronger than they were in the past.”