2010 Asian Games: Pakistan-Thailand clash on Sunday

Huangpu Sports Centre - 2010 Asian Games venue for Sunday's Pakistan-Thailand clash on 7 Nov 2010

Lahore, 1 Nov: The seventh Pakistan-Thailand clash in international football arena – the first in U23 event – will be recorded in 16th Asian Games Football Tournament (Group-F) when both the teams will face each other in the Huangpu Sports Center, Guangzhou on Sunday, 7 November 2010 (7 PM Kick Off). Since 2002 Busan Games, football at the Asian Games changed to age-limit and now it is a “U23 + 3 overage” tournament

Pakistan will face Thailand during the football event of XVI Asian Games to be held under Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) at Chinese city Guangzhou from 7-26 November 2010. The Pak-Thai tussle will be played 5 days prior to the opening ceremony at Haixinsha Island in the Pearl River. Other Pakistan’s opponents in Group-F will be Maldives (9 Nov) and Oman ( 11 Nov).

The competition like the Olympic football tournament will be an Under-23 tournament with three over aged players allowed per squad. The players born on or after 1 January 1987 will be eligible as U23 players. The football competitions will be played across seven venues – Ying Dong Stadium, Huadu Stadium, Huangpu Stadium, Yuexiu Stadium, Guangdong People’s Stadium, Huagdong Stadium and Tianhe Stadium. The dimension of playing field of all seven venues as well as 17 training venues will be 105 x 68 meters.

Both – Pakistan, Thais – played full international last year when George Kottan-coached Pakistan team lost 0-4 to Thais, coached by Peter Reid,  on 18 July 2009 at the Bangkok’s Thunderdome Sport Complex with goals from Teerasil Dangda 2, Rangsan Vivatchaichoke and Teerathep Winothai

Thailand is 61 places better than Pakistan in FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking issued on 20 October 2010. Thai’s record in track record between two nations is appreciable, winning five of the last six matches. They will be hard nut to crack, enjoying 108th berth in ranking, compared to Pakistan’s 169.

Thailand has a history of success in Southeast Asian competition, with three ASEAN Football Championship titles and nine senior-level Southeast Asian Games titles. Thailand also finished third in the 1972 Asian Cup and have competed twice in the Summer Olympics and four times in the Asian Games.On the other hand Pakistan have never won the SAFF Championship while their U23 team clinched the SAG title record two times in 2004, 2006 after national team triumphs in same event in 1989,1991.

It is interesting that Pakistan yet to score against Thailand during last five matches after thrashing them  7-0 on 9 August 1960 during  4th Merdeka Cup at KL.Since then it is one way traffic with Thailand winning five internationals in line.

Thailand earned their first ever win over Akbar Raisani-led Pakistan with close-fought 1-0 win at their own 14th King Cup on 11 November 1981. It was followed by 6-0 win during Seoul’s Asian Games on 29 September 1986.Pakistani skipper was then Army’s stopper Muhammad Naveed.

The two matches between two in World cup qualifiers were also belonged to Thais who won the first leg 3-0 at Lebanon on 15 May 2001, and completed double with 6-0 win at Thailand 13 days later.

The soccer enthusiasts of both nations are following the Huangpu clash with keenness despite the knowledge that it will not be included in mathematical method of monthly FIFA World Ranking. The match will also bring two Europeans infront of each other too when Pakistani cosultant Graham Roberts will face tough coaching skill of another European, former English captain Bryan Robson – the longest serving captain in Manchester United history.

Previous six Meetings between Pakistan and Thailand in international football circuit:

05/08/1960-Thailand 0:7 Pakistan, Kuala Lumpur (4th Merdeka Cup)
11/11/1981-Thailand 1:0 Pakistan, Bangkok (14th Kings Cup)
29/09/1986-Thailand 6:0 Pakistan, Daegu (Asian Games)
15/05/2001-Thailand 3:0 Pakistan, Beirut (World Cup Qualifier- 1st Leg)
28/05/2001-Thailand 6:0 Pakistan, Bangkok (World Cup Qualifier-2nd Leg)
18/07/2009-Thailand 4:0 Pakistan, Bangkok (Friendly)