Former Thailand manager Peter Reid, who made his name as a player for Everton and later as Manchester City and Sunderland boss, said today an Asian side could win the FIFA World Cup™ as soon as 2022.
Reid spent only a year in Thailand before moving back to the Premier League as number two at Stoke City in 2009, but said he had seen enough in that time to believe Asia could provide a FIFA World Cup winner in Qatar 2022.
The former England midfielder said he had been pleasantly surprised by the standard in Thailand and the rest of Asia. "Asian players and the players in Thailand are very good technically and very good with the ball on the floor," he told AFP.
He picked out South Korea as a prime example of how Asian players can combine work-rate and ability to great effect - the Koreans reached the semi-finals at the 2002 FIFA World Cup co-hosted by Japan and South Korea. "You see how Park Ji-Sung runs and runs at Manchester United and he's great on the ball as well. He plays in all their big games now," said Reid.
And Reid said the extreme heat in Qatar would benefit teams from Asia who are used to playing in hot and humid conditions. "It's really hard for European teams in those kind of conditions so I can definitely see Asian teams benefiting from that. Could an Asian side win it? Sure, why not, they're getting better and better."