Tue, Nov 20, 2007 - Page 18 News List

Singapore, Thailand coaches optimistic

AFP , SINGAPORE

The coaches of Singapore and Thailand hailed the progress their teams have made after reaching the third round of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, in contrast to Indonesia and Hong Kong, who flopped out of contention.

ASEAN champions Singapore go into the hat for the preliminary World Cup draw in South Africa on Sunday for the first time after a gritty 1-1 draw in appalling conditions against Tajikistan in Dushanbe.

Thai coach Chanvit Phalajivin was happy with what his team had done and said he wanted to be drawn in the same group as Australia in the third round.

"Every player put in a good performance," he said of the victory.

Avramovic said he was not concerned who his team was drawn against.

At the draw, the 20 Asian countries who have qualified will be split into five groups of four teams with the winners and runners-up advancing to the fourth round.

But Indonesia are not among them after being embarrassed 7-0 by Syria, who won 11-1 on aggregate over the two second-round legs.

It leaves Indonesian football at a crossroads.

The failure to qualify was hugely disappointing after the progress they made at the Asian Cup this year and with the head of their national association in jail on graft charges.

Elsewhere, Turkmenistan overcame the 0-0 draw they suffered in the first leg with a 3-0 home win against Hong Kong to join the list of teams in the Asian qualifiers.

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