FFT’s Five Finds: Thailand are buzzing
Thailand still buzzing
The headline in the English-language Bangkok newspaper 'The Nation' at the weekend was 'Thailand Qualify For Asian Cup' after their 2-2 draw in Iraq on Thursday.
The real story, of course is that the War Elephants are in the final round of qualification for the 2018 World Cup. Qualify for that and there will be headlines on the front pages and plenty more besides.
Then came the friendly with South Korea on Sunday, a timely test against the best that Asia has to offer, with the games that will be coming up in the next few months.
It is also testament to the team's burgeoning reputation across the continent that the Koreans were happy to travel to Bangkok for the warm-up game.
The two may be meeting again with more at stake later this year or sometime next.
The atmosphere was a pleasant and happy one and while Korea won 1-0, this very friendly occasion showed that Thailand are moving forward.
Sarach Yooyen comes of age
Of the two 2-2 draws between Thailand and Iraq in the second round, the Muangthong midfielder will have better memories of the second one than the first. Back in Bangkok, he was at fault for one of the Iraqi goals and he had a sub-par performance.
But in Tehran, the 23-year-old was a commanding presence in the middle of the pitch. The vital cog in a three-man midfield did so much to protect the back line from the increasingly desperate 2007 Asian champions.
It was the way he not only helped shield the defence but stayed composed in possession that also helped take some of the pressure off.
Players such as Chanatip Songkrasin and Teerasil Dangda often hog the headlines but Sarach deserves plenty of plaudits for an intelligent display. He has a bright future and the same can be said of Thailand.