Manager Ivankovic vows China will beat Thailand in World Cup qualifier


Head coach of Team China Branko Ivankovic
Head coach of Team China Branko Ivankovic attends Press Conference at Shenyang Olympic Sports Centre Stadium on June 5, 2024 in Shenyang, China. 

China national team coach Branko Ivankovic has vowed that his charges will beat Thailand in their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifier in Shenyang, northeast China's Liaoning Province, on Thursday.

"We heard that all the tickets for tomorrow's match are sold out, and there will be over 50,000 fans coming to the stadium to support us," Ivankovic said at the pre-game press conference on Wednesday. "We want to win the match for them. That's the only goal."

With two games remaining in the second round of FIFA World Cup qualification for Asian teams, China rank second in Group C with seven points, three points ahead of Thailand. Ivankovic's team would ensure themselves of a place in the final stage of Asian qualifiers if they beat Thailand.

"We need to score more goals to win, and therefore I have called up six forwards," the Croatian coach said. "Despite Wu Lei's suspension and Zhang Yuning's injury, we will organize the attacking tactics well."

The 70-year-old added that Thailand would not be satisfied with a draw. "Thailand have qualities and their own style of play, and we will be well prepared," he said.

Thailand head coach Masatada Ishii promised his team would try their best to get three points. "China's naturalized players are all very good, and they can strengthen their attacking line. We will find our way to beat them," he said.

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