Thailand will try to score an away goal when they travel to Kuala Lumpur to face Malaysia in the AFF Suzuki Cup semi-final first leg on Sunday.
Thailand captain Panupong Wongsa leads his teammates and officials to pay respect to His Majesty the King at Siriraj hospital yesterday.
"It will not be an easy game but I have told my players to try to score in Kuala Lumpur," Thailand coach Winfried Schaefer said yesterday.
"The next two games will be very important and we must get through them. The team spirit is good _ it has been good since I came here [last year]."
The second leg is scheduled at Supachalasai stadium next Thursday. The winners will meet Singapore or the Philippines in a two-legged final later this month.
Thailand captain Panupong Wongsa said every player was looking forward to the match.
"Many people have warned us to get prepared for biased officiating but we are not afraid of anything. We are an experienced team and should be able to cope with the atmosphere and other conditions," he said.
Striker Teerasil Dangda, who has scored three goals in the 2012 tournament, said: "I want to win the title as a New Year present for Thais."
The team yesterday signed a well-wishers' book for His Majesty the King at Siriraj hospital.
Schaefer said: "I feel honoured to come here to pay respect to the King. I'd like to thank our team manager [Tanusak Lek-uthai] for bringing us here."
The 62-year-old German coach said he still remembered Their Majesties the King and Queen's visit to his home country when he was about 10 years old.
In Hanoi, the head coach of the Vietnam football team has resigned after a disappointing performance at the Suzuki Cup.
Phan Thanh Hung stepped down Wednesday, taking responsibility for the poor showing at the ongoing Southeast Asian championship.
Vietnam lost to Thailand and the Philippines and drew with Myanmar in their group, failing to reach the knockout stages.
Hung, the first local coach of the national team since 1993, had been on the job since March. His predecessor, German Falko Goetz, was fired in January for the team's poor results at last year's SEA Games in Indonesia. BANGKOK POST/AP
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- Writer: Tor Chittinand