In Thailand‘s first two games at the FIFA Futsal World Cup 2012 - a 3-1 win over Costa Rica and a 5-3 defeat to Ukraine - the tournament hosts have given the home support plenty to cheer about. Their matches in Bangkok’s Huamark Indoor Stadium have drawn huge crowds and consequently created a breathtaking atmosphere to play in.
“Our fans are incredible, they’re always behind us,” Thailand’s Jirawat Sornwichian told FIFA.com. “Even when we make a lot of mistakes, like we did against Ukraine, they push us forward and give us the strength to get back into the game.”
The 24-year-old is one of the team’s stars and is well aware the whole country is willing them to succeed. Sornwichian has scored in both games so far and is already a fans' favourite thanks to his eye-catching performances.
“I have no fear,” the diminutive attacker said. "I want to stamp my style of play on every match and have an important role. I fight from the first until the last second along with all my team-mates."
Sornwichian’s talent was especially clear to see in the second half against Ukraine, who finished fourth at Spain 1996. He was the driving force behind the hosts, urging them forward with an impressive array of skills and was ultimately rewarded with a goal.
I want to stamp my style of play on every match and have an important role. I fight from the first until the last second.
“We were the outsiders going in to the game, but we believed we had a chance," said Thailand's No5. "Unfortunately we made too many mistakes in the first half. After the break we were able to control the match better, but by then it was too late to turn things around."
On Wednesday, Victor Hermans’ charges go up against a Paraguay side that finished as runners-up at the South American qualifying tournament. Defeat must be avoided in order to keep their hopes of reaching the knockout stages alive. “The pressure’s on Paraguay, not on us,” said Sornwichian. "We need to be more focused in defence, not attack too much and determine the game’s rhythm."
That will be easier said than done, especially given the fact that Thailand will be deprived of a key player in Kritsada Wongkaeo, who is suspended after receiving a second yellow card. Furthermore, Suphawut Thueanklang’s participation is in doubt due to injury. “We don’t want to play just for our two friends, who are like family to us, but rather for everyone in Thailand,” Sornwichian concluded. "Every Thai would be delighted if we made it to the next round. We want to make history."
With the enthusiastic support of the fans inside the stadium, as well as the whole nation spurring them on, there may be no better time to do just that than against Paraguay.