The road to Canada
Thailand qualified for its maiden FIFA Women’s World Cup™ thanks to a fifth-place finish in the AFC Women's Asian Cup held in May 2014. However, their odyssey to Canada 2015 began a year earlier in the unlikely setting of Dhaka, Bangladesh where they secured a clean sweep of their preliminary stage group with comfortable wins over Iran and the hosts, as well as a tough 1-0 win over Philippines. In Vietnam they suffered defeats against China PR and Korea Republic, however a 2-1 win against Myanmar put them into the decisive fifth-place play-off. Once again they prevailed in a crucial match with a narrow one-goal margin as a historic double from Kanjana Sungngoen edged out the hosts 2-1 in a tense encounter.
Strengths and style
Thailand's main strength is their familiarity with each with many of the side boasting lengthy careers in the international arena, either at senior or youth level. Thailand posses a trademark southeast Asian quick-tempo short-passing game. The main threat in front of goal is striker Nisa Romyen who boasts an impressive goal return over recent years at international level. Pace on the wings is added by Kanchana Sungngoen, while senior personnel include Darut Changplook in defence and Naphat Seesraum in midfield. Interest too will focus on Taneekarn Dangda - sister of men’s national team icon Teerasil – who had a spell in Sweden during 2014.
Nuengruethai Sathongwien, who has held the national team reins since April 2014, is the first female coach of the national team. Her initial task at the helm was to lead Thailand to Canada 2015 via the AFC Asian Women's Cup, which she did successfully. Sathongwien worked as the senior national team assistant before taking the head role, and she also oversees Thailand's U-16 and U-19 teams. Sathongwien remains head coach of domestic league side BG-CAS based in Khon Kaen. Sathongwien names Spain as a footballing influence and wants her team to play quick possession-based football.
FIFA Women’s World Cup record
- This will be Thailand’s first appearance at a FIFA Women's World Cup
What they said
“It's already beyond overwhelming to have the chance to participate in the World Cup. We will do our best without pressuring ourselves too hard," Kanjana Sungngoen, Thailand striker