Thailand eye 'good result' in opener
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Thailand eye 'good result' in opener

Issara confident of second-round berth

Thailand players take part in a training session in Hangzhou on Monday ahead of their match against Bahrain on Tuesday.
Thailand players take part in a training session in Hangzhou on Monday ahead of their match against Bahrain on Tuesday.

Thailand are upbeat about their chances of reaching the knockout stage in the men's football competition despite being in a tough group at the Asian Games in Hangzhou, China.

The Young War Elephants are in Group E with two-time defending champions South Korea, Kuwait and Bahrain.

They begin their campaign today against Bahrain with South Korea taking on Kuwait in the other Group E game.

The six group winners and runners-up as well as the four best third-placed sides advance to the last-16 round.

Thailand's confidence has been boosted by their performances in the recent AFC U23 Asian Cup qualifiers in which they finished on the top of their group.

Thailand coach Issara Sritaro said on Monday he is hoping his team would get three points from three matches which may be enough for a place in the second round.

"I already have my starting line-up in my mind," said Issara.

He said playing against teams at the Asian level is probably better than those from Asean nations as they normally do not defend against Thailand.

"Bahrain move fast. They prefer an attacking game and do not play defensively. This could give us opportunities for counter-attacks," Issara said.

"We will try to do our best and get a good result."

The men's football tournament at the Asian Games is for U23 players.

The two countries' U23 sides have met only three times with Thailand leading 2-1. However, in their latest match, Bahrain beat the Thais 2-0 in a warm-up game in August.

The Thai men are looking for their first ever Asian Games medal, having finished fourth four times in 1990, 1998, 2002 and 2014.

Meanwhile, French club Paris St-Germain have agreed to let midfielder Lee Kang-In join up with South Korea's Asian Games squad during the group stage, the country's football association (KFA) said.

The KFA said Lee would be released after PSG's Champions League opener at home to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday.

Teams are under no obligation to release players for the Asian Games as the event falls outside Fifa's official window.

The Games, postponed from 2022 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, officially run from Sept 23 to Oct 8.

South Korea kick off their campaign against Kuwait on Tuesday as they bid for a third straight gold medal. They will face Thailand on Thursday and Bahrain three days later.

Lee, 22, joined PSG in July. He is expected to be available for the Koreans' third group match. bangkok post/reuters

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