Strengths: By examining all goals scored by the Philippines at the tournament so far, we can see that aerial presence and set plays are their greatest strengths. Against Singapore, it was a long throw-in into the box that put Patrick Reichelt through on goal. And again against Timor-Leste, 2 of their 3 goals came from well-worked free kicks.
Weaknesses: With Sven-Göran Eriksson taking charge so close to the tournament, there is little time for the experienced manager to implement his footballing ideas. Although most of the squad have been together for many years, their open play still looks dull, lacking variety and imagination.
Player to Watch (with explanation) – Kevin Ingreso
The Hamburger SV academy graduate registered 2 assists in the Azkals’ win over Timor-Leste, first a cheeky short free kick, and then the second a perfect in-swinging delivery on to the head of Carli de Murga. Kevin Ingreso’s deliveries from right-back will definitely take advantage of the team’s aerial ability. Last time out , hailand conceded twice from set plays and they will need to keep Ingreso quiet in order to earn a clean sheet.
Strengths – Thailand really came into their game against Indonesia once head coach Milovan Rajevac switch to a 4-4-2 diamond (4-1-2-1-2) formation, outnumbering their opponents with four players in the middle of the park. The four-man midfield allow Thitipan more freedom to roam forward and increase Thailand’s pressing ability, as seen in their 3rd goal. The War Elephants have great depth in the midfield, so it wouldn’t be a surprise if Rajevac started the game with this tactical tweak.
Weaknesses – In the last game, Thailand conceded twice, and the keeper seemed a little shaky when coming out for the ball. Thailand didn’t anticipate an issue between the sticks ahead of this tournament, and it something that they will need to fix as soon as possible. The Azkals will surely be testing us by throwing balls into the box whenever the opportunity arises.
Player to Watch (with explanation) – Korrakot Wiriyaudomsiri
The Buriram United man is doing a wonderful job filling in for Theerathon Bunmathan, who still with Japanese side Vissel Kobe on club duty. Korrakot has already been involved with 3 goals in as many matches (2 assists, 1 goal). However, in this game, Korrakot will have to shift his focus from attack to defence. The Philippines will be looking to use their aerial advantage by attacking the byline, and it is Korrakot’s job to make sure that doesn’t happen.
Prediction: Thailand had quite a difficult night last time they visit the Panaad Stadium, and the same can be expected this time around. The home side will play with passion, and will fight to win every second ball, but I believe Rajevac’s men have enough collective quality to grind out a win.
Football Tribe Thailand