- AFC Futsal C'ship 2014: Group C Preview23:39 | 30/04/2014
Thailand coach Victor Hermans believes there could be a few surprises at the 2014 AFC Futsal Championship as the 2012 runners-up prepare to open this year’s campaign against Malaysia on Thursday at Phu Tho Stadium.
Thailand, who lost the 2012 final 6-1 to Japan in the United Arab Emirates, head into the tournament full of confidence after claiming the 2013 AFF Futsal Championship title with a 2-1 victory over Australia in Bangkok October.
They also claimed the gold medal at the 2013 SEA Games in Myanmar in December after beating Vietnam in the final.
“Futsal is growing in Asia, which is good because we need strong teams,” said Dutch coach Hermans.
“We will do our best again in this tournament and hope to get a better result than in Dubai. I hope we still have the feeling and the spirit in the squad from Dubai.
“Surprises are happening more and more, but do not take that as I don’t want to go to the final, I am just being realistic.”
Malaysia, meanwhile, have qualified for the tournament for the first time since 2008 when they recorded one win in their three group stage games.
“Our first game is against Thailand and I hope that my players perform well and get a good result,” said coach Maizal Marzuki.
Also in Group C on Thursday, Lebanon face fellow 2012 qualifiers Chinese Taipei after both sides advanced to the tournament in Vietnam with unbeaten records.
Lebanon finished second behind eventual champions Japan in their group in 2012, but lost to Group C opponents Thailand in the quarter-finals.
“We know we are in a good group and have a tough team like Thailand, so it is going to be a fight for second place between ourselves, Malaysia and Chinese Taipei,” said Lebanon coach Francisco Araujo.
“We already played against Chinese Taipei in 2012, in the group stage. We don’t have any idea if the team has changed, but we still have the same mentality to win when we play them.”
In the UAE two years ago, Chinese Taipei exited in the group stage following three loses, which included a 3-2 defeat by Thursday’s opponents.
“This is my first time as the head coach and also the first time to meet the Lebanon team,” said coach Chang Wu-Yeh.
“The target is to win the first game and we will then prepare again for the other games.”
According to AFC
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