Strengths: Since Rajevac took charge, Thailand has become a far more solid side. We can see that by the improvement in centre-back options, and the fact that Tanaboon can be played further up the pitch. Chalermpong Kerdkaew and Pansa Hemviboon, 2 players who were not selected during the reign of coach Kiatisuk Senamuang, have been rock solid at the back for Rajevac since day one.
Weaknesses: Without Teerasil Dangda, Thailand is struggling to find a reliable goalscorer. Adisak Kraisorn was spearheading the 2014 AFF Cup campaign, but is struggling to find form after a whole year of injuries. Chananan Pombuppha has only had a great 2nd half of the season, and Rajevac seem to prefer him on the wings.
Player to Watch – Thitipan Puangchan
Thitipan Puangchan had a great showing in the last 2 friendlies, scoring the winner against Trinidad and Tobago, and therefore is definitely the man to watch for Thailand. The defending champions will be forced to attack, and with the majority of their goals coming from midfield, Timor Leste will need to stop the energetic midfielder’s late runs into the box.
Strengths: This East Timor side is made up of 18 to 20 years old players who have been together for a long time. Therefore Thailand can expect the visitors to have great teamwork.
Weaknesses: With the majority of the squad so young (roughly 18 to 20 years old ), the lack of experience can backfire when things get tough.
Player to Watch – Henrique Cruz
Although he is only 20 years old, Henrique Cruz is already the most capped striker in the squad, making his senior debut in 2015. He played a crucial role in getting Timor Leste to their first ever AFF Championship, netting twice in the 3-1 first leg qualification win over Brunei.
Football Tribe Thailand