Vietnam wary of Chanathip
Captain Hai says 'outstanding' Thai playmaker will be under tight vigil in World Cup qualifier
The Thai national squad continued their preparations behind closed doors on Friday to face a "confident" Vietnam side with a "desire to win" their opening 2022 World Cup qualifying game on Sept 5 at Thammasat Stadium.
The Thais have been training under the supervision of new coach Akira Nishino, who has been receiving seals of approval from the players with midfielder Bordin Phala being the latest to admire the Japanese veteran.
The War Elephants are in Group G with the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Malaysia being the other teams in the pool.
After Vietnam, Thailand will next take on Indonesia in an away game on Sept 10.
Vietnam, who beat an under-strength Thai side in June's King's Cup in Buri Ram, are high on confidence, their captain Que Ngoc Hai was quoted as saying yesterday.
"The whole team is very confident," said Hai.
"The most important thing is to maintain the spirit of solidarity and the desire to win."
The 26-year-old defender added that his team won't wilt under the pressure when facing Thailand in the away battle.
"Vietnam have experienced a lot of big matches on the continental level. The pressure from the stands will not affect our morale.
"The 27 players who are summoned this time have won great trust. I really believe in my teammates."
Hai said the Vietnamese defenders would have to be extra cautious of crafty Thailand playmaker Chanathip Songkrasin.
"Chanathip has been the most outstanding Thai player over the past five years, so we would have to keep an eye on him throughout the game.
"But I don't think he is the only threat that the Thais have in their squad. They have many other top-quality players."
Earlier, Vietnam coach Park Hang-Seo also warned his players to be wary of Chanathip.
"Currently, Thailand have three players playing in J1 League, including Chanathip. He didn't play at King's Cup, but we watched how he played in the 2019 Asian Cup.
"We also watched videos of Chanathip quite a lot. It can be said that Vietnam must be vigilant with this player."
Meanwhile, Bordin said Nishino "is a suitable coach" for the Thai national team.
The Port midfielder, one of the hottest players in Thai League 1 this season, added that the atmosphere at the team camp "is really great.
"I am very happy to be back in the national team training camp. I missed the King's Cup because of injury.
"I am very keen to make final 23-man squad. I am just trying to do my best in training and impress the coach."
The initial squad of 33 probables will soon be trimmed to 23 players.