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Thailand World Cup campaign ends

Thailand World Cup campaign ends

Despite securing a 3-1 victory over Singapore in their final match of the preliminary qualifying round for the 2026 World Cup, Thailand faced disappointment on Tuesday night at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok.

The Thai team, known as the War Elephants, entered the Group C fixture with the knowledge that they needed a three-goal win against Singapore to overcome their goal-difference deficit against China, who had suffered a 1-0 defeat to South Korea earlier that evening.

Despite their win, Thailand found themselves tied with China for second place, both accumulating eight points with identical goal tallies of 9 scored and 9 conceded. However, due to their 2-1 loss to China in the opening match of the qualification round last November, Thailand was relegated to third place based on the head-to-head ratio. Consequently, China advances to the next stage of the Asian Football Confederation qualifiers.

During the first half, the hosts dominated possession and created several promising opportunities, but Singapore’s goalkeeper, Hassan Sunny, proved formidable. Thailand’s inability to capitalize on chances was evident, with missed opportunities from Chanathip Songkrasin and Supachai within the first 15 minutes, and Suphanan Bureerat’s long-range effort blocked.

Thailand’s breakthrough came in the 37th minute when Theerathon’s well-placed delivery found Chanathip, whose cutback allowed Suphanat to slot the ball home comfortably.

Despite Thailand’s dominance, Singapore managed to level the score in the 57th minute with a stunning strike from Ikhsan Fandi, catching the home side off guard.

However, Thailand quickly regained the lead in the 79th minute, courtesy of Theerathon’s assist to Poramet Arjvirai, who found the bottom right corner with a precise shot.

Jaroensak Wonggorn extended Thailand’s lead to 3-1 in the 86th minute with a header from close range, sealing the victory. Despite a frantic finish during the added time, Thailand failed to capitalize on further opportunities, with Jaroensak’s shot narrowly missing the target.

Meanwhile, in Seoul, South Korea secured their place in the third and final stage of qualifying as group winners, with Lee Kang-in scoring the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over China, with skipper Son Heung-min playing a pivotal role in the build-up.

Additionally, Indonesia advanced from Group F with a 2-0 home win over the Philippines.

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