Thailand have taken an important step in their preparations for hosting the FIFA Futsal World Cup, beating Vietnam 9-4 in the final of the AFF Futsal Championship 2012 on 27 April at Bangkok Thonburi University Indoor stadium.
More than ten million Thais watched live TV coverage of the event, and a full house of fans in the stadium cheered on their countrymen in an exciting and fiery match that ended with the two sides both showing two. Thailand had won this Asean Futsal Championship seven times in a row before conceding their crown in 2010.
This time, however, there would be no mistakes. Thailand won all six matches, beating Philippine 22-0, Laos 26-2, Timor Leste 19-1 and Indonesia 6-1 to comfortably progress from the first stage. A 12-1 win over Malaysia followed in the semi-finals before Vietnam were beaten 9-4, with Suphawut Theunklang scoring five goals, to round off a thoroughly satisfying tournament.
In the process of winning the trophy, the Thais also set a new high-scoring record, with 94 goals for and just nine against, with Theunklang finishing as top marksman with 23 goals and team-mates Krisda Wongkaeo and Jetsada Chudech scoring 18 and 16 respectively.
The Local Organising Committee for the FIFA Futsal World Cup Thailand 2012 also took the chance to promote the upcoming global showpiece with a colourful half-time show during Thailand matches during which Thailand souvenir t-shirt were given away to the crowd.
Vic Hermans, the team’s head coach, expressed his happiness with the outcome, but insisted that many areas for improvement remain, particularly in defence. “We scored many goals and we missed many chances too,” said Hermans, who suggested that Thailand face plenty of hard work before hosting the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012 in November.
First, though, the Asean kings will attempt to become Asian champions, when Thailand take part in the AFC Futsal Championship 2012 in Dubai between 25 May and 1 June. They will be up against 15 of the continent’s best teams, divided in four groups of four.