Thailand likely to resume World Cup quest on Oct 8

Author: Amelia
14:17 | 05/06/2020

Thailand will make a last-ditch effort to salvage their chances of sealing a place in the 12-team third and final round of the Asia/Oceania zone qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in the first half of October.

The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has drafted tentative revised schedules for the Asia/Oceania zone qualifying campaigns for Doha 2022, which were suspended earlier this year due to a global novel coronavirus outbreak.

According to the "unofficial" schedules worked out by the AFC, Thailand will play their three remaining Group G games in October and November.

The War Elephants will first take on bottom-side Indonesia at home on Oct 8 before facing the mighty United Arab Emirates away four days later.

They will play their last group game at home on Nov 17 when they entertain regional rivals Malaysia in Bangkok.

With the eight group winners and four best runners-up progressing to the continent's 12-team final qualifying stage for the 2022 World Cup, Thailand have a mountain to climb to reach the next round.

The Vietnamese have 11 points from five matches while the War Elephants are third with eight points, one behind Malaysia.

Acting Football Association of Thailand (FAT) secretary-general Patit Supaphong yesterday said the revised schedules were tentative, but added that he expected the AFC to stick to the given timetable.

Patit and FAT director of club licensing Benjamin Tan participated in a video conference with the AFC that included representatives from Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia and discussed Fifa World Cup qualification round and the AFC Champions League, both which were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The timetable isn't official yet but it is likely to stay this way. The AFC will have to issue a media statement first which will make these schedules official and we will wait for that," said Patit.

"We are monitoring the situation continuously and cannot say anything for sure at this moment, but the qualifying matches for the 2022 World Cup are very likely to be played in October and November.

"It will all depend on how things are in different countries of the world because travelling is a major concern for everyone at the moment."

Patit added that the regional body was keen to wrap up the 2020 AFC Champions League within this year.

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