Thailand vs China

Thailand and China are set to trade tackles at the Rajamangala Stadium in their opening 2026 World Cup qualifying Group C clash.

After qualifying for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup, Thailand embark on another ‘mission impossible’ as they bid to reach the World Cup finals for the first time. Making it out of round two for the first time since the ‘2018’ cycle is the initial step, and after beating China 1-0 in their last H2H, they’ll hope for a strong start. But it’s worth noting that before that narrow success, the ‘War Elephants’ had lost three consecutive meetings between the sides, failing to score in two. Thailand’s recent form cannot inspire much confidence either, as they’ve gone from back-to-back victories to three consecutive games without winning (D2, L1 – 90mins only), including a disastrous 8-0 defeat to European minnows Georgia in a friendly last month.

Like their hosts, China have encountered little luck in recent World Cup qualifying campaigns, missing out on every final tournament since their only previous appearance in 2002. But for what it’s worth, they progressed to round three in both the ‘2018’ and ‘2022’ cycles, highlighting the confidence within the visiting camp at the start of this campaign. Wu Xi’s men would be wise to keep their feet firmly on the ground after only winning once in their last four outings (D1, L2), courtesy of a 2-0 home win over Vietnam in October. Adding to the manager’s concerns, his men have traveled poorly in recent years, going winless on all eight road trips since September 2021 (D2, L6). To make things worse, they failed to score in five of those eight matches.

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