Thailand have moved to the top of Group A with a 3-1 win over Costa Rica at Bangkok's Huamark Indoor Stadium. Suphawut Thueanklang, Keattiyot Chalaemkhet and Jirawat Sornwichian were all on target as Victor Hermans’ side made the perfect start to their FIFA Futsal World Cup campaign.
The hosts began the brighter of the two sides, with the speed and trickery of star forward Suphawut Thueanklang causing problems for the CONCACAF champions. However, it was after a spell of Costa Rican pressure, and somewhat against the run of play, that the Thais took an 18th-minute lead. Predictably, Thueanklang was at the heart of the action, working the ball through unselfishly for Keattiyot Chalaemkhet to smash an emphatic right-foot shot high into the net and delight the flag-waving home fans.
Thailand’s No9 then went from provider to goalscorer nine minutes into the second half, crashing a ferocious left-foot shot in off the underside of the crossbar to cap a speedy breakaway. Costa Rica were creating precious little at this stage but, out of nothing, they grabbed a lifeline with three minutes remaining when Diego Zuniga sent a magnificent left-foot shot flashing into the top corner.
However, the points were secured just a minute later when Jirawat Sornwichian restored Thailand’s two-goal cushion, chipping the ball past the advancing keeper and in off the right-hand post to spark loud cheering form the enthusiastic capital crowd.
"I’m very happy and proud of my team, and of the performance we showed. I hope this win gives all the Thai people a boost and encourages them to come to our next match to support us from the stands. Futsal has a future in Thailand and maybe the fans can become the sixth player on the pitch."
Victor Hermans, Thailand coach