Thailand has a chance to make history at the 2021 Futsal World Cup on Thursday. A victory for the Thais in the round of 16 would send them to the quarter-finals for the first time after five games in the tournament.
This is the third time in a row that Thailand have qualified for the knockout stages of the quadrennial tournament, but they were eliminated at this stage in 2012 and 2016.
On Sunday, the Thai team finished third in Group C after defeating Solomon Islands 9-4 in the final match of the group stage in Lithuania. The victory earned them a knockout stage match against Group A champions Kazakhstan. The match starts on Thursday at 9:30 pm Thai time.
The Thai team already made history at this year’s tournament in Lithuania. Head coach Rakful Saintingham became the first Thai coach to lead the team and advance to the round of 16 of the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Victor Hermanns from the Netherlands coached the team in the 2012 tournament in Thailand, then he was succeeded by Spaniard Miguel Rodrigo in the 2016 edition in Colombia.
Thailand reached the round of 16 in 2012, 2016 and this year and now only need to win one match to rewrite the history books.
Suphawut Thueanklang is Thailand’s top scorer in the Futsal World Cup, with 12 goals in appearances in 2012, 2016 and 2021. Suphawut is also the first Thai to score a hat-trick twice in the tournament, in 2016 and 2021. He completed the feat in Sunday’s game against Solomon Islands. Thailand’s most dangerous scorer is now looking to add more goals to his record against Kazakhstan on Thursday.
Meanwhile, Suphawut, Jetsada Chudech, Kritsada Wongkaeo and Jirawat Sornwichian have scored for Thailand in all three of the team’s matches at the FIFA Futsal World Cup.
Four other players appeared in all three Thailand tournaments: Anucha Munjarern, Panuwat Janta, Narongsak Khongkaew and Lertchai Issarasuwipakorn.
They have all led the team to the playoffs three times and can now make history on Thursday by earning a spot in the quarterfinals.
On Sunday, Sufhout was among the Thai players who donated clothing and equipment to the Solomon Islands team, which is made up of poor semi-professionals.
Thailand vs Kazakhstan head-to-head record live
Although Kazakhstan is located in Central Asia, the country’s football federation is a member of UEFA (Confederation of European Football Associations). Thailand have played Kazakhstan three times before.
2000: Kazakhstan beat Thailand 4-3 at the 2000 Asian Futsal Championship in the group stage
2016: Thailand drew 3-3 with Kazakhstan in 2016 Thailand Five (Kazakhstan won title)
2017: Kazakhstan beat Thailand 2-1 at Thailand Five 2017 (Kazakhstan was runner-up)
Kazakhstan currently ranks seventh in the world, eleventh above Thailand at 18th place.