Bangkok Post – Thailand’s heartbreak after the end of the World Cup campaign
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Bangkok Post – Thailand’s heartbreak after the end of the World Cup campaign

Despite a 3-1 victory over Singapore, the War Elephants were mathematically eliminated from further qualifications

Ikhsan Fandi of Singapore and Sarach Yooyen of Thailand fight for the ball during their World Cup qualifier against Singapore on Tuesday evening at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok.  (Photo: Reuters)

Ikhsan Fandi of Singapore and Sarach Yooyen of Thailand fight for the ball during their World Cup qualifier against Singapore on Tuesday evening at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok. (Photo: Reuters)

Thailand were devastated despite beating Singapore 3-1 in the final match of the 2026 World Cup preliminary qualifying round on Tuesday night at the Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok.

The War Elephants went into the Group C match knowing they had to beat Singapore by three goals to overcome their disadvantageous goal difference against China, which had lost 1-0 to South Korea earlier in the evening.

As it happened, the victory put Thailand in second place with eight points with China, with both sides having identical records, each with 9 goals scored and 9 conceded. However, on a per-player basis, the War Elephants finished third after a 2-1 defeat to China in the opening match of the qualifying round last November.

China will now move on to the next stage of the Asian Football Confederation qualifying round.

The hosts dominated play in the first half and created several promising chances, but Singapore goalkeeper Hassan Sunny was up to the task.

Thailand’s finishing also let them down. Chanathip Songkrasin and Supachai were wasted in the penalty area around the 15th minute, with Suphanan Bureerat seeing his long-range shot blocked.

The hosts wasted another great opportunity to take the lead in the 26th minute when Supachok Sarachat burst through the goal before firing a powerful shot, forcing Sunny to deflect the ball towards Supachai, who was unable to score.

Singapore’s defense was finally broken in the 37th minute when Theerathon sent a well-timed pass to Chanathip, whose shot into a crowded penalty area from a set piece was easily found in the net by Suphanat.

Thailand should have doubled their lead in the 48th minute when Suphanan Bureerat did well to get into the box and Supachai miskicked the ball which Sunny collected easily.

Two minutes later, Sarach Yooyen was denied a goal when his volley attempt from Teerasil Dangda’s pass escaped Sunny’s clutches before deflecting off the left post.

Thailand paid the price for their failures when Singapore stunned the hosts with a spectacular strike from Ikhsan Fandi in the 57th minute, with the striker intercepting Glenn Kweh’s pass before firing a powerful shot from outside the box.

Thailand came back into the game and regained the lead in the 79th minute, with Theerathon setting up Poramet Arjvirai and firing the ball into the bottom right corner.

Jaroensak Wonggorn then made it 3-1 in the 86th minute, rising highest to nod in from close range. This set the stage for a wild end to over seven minutes of added time. However, Thailand only created a few real chances, especially when Jaroensak shot just to the left of the Singapore goal.

In Seoul, Paris Saint-Germain’s Lee Kang-in scored the only goal just after the hour when he fired home from close range, with captain Son Heung-min heavily involved in the preparations.

South Korea were already in the third and final phase of qualifying as group winners.

Indonesia, which celebrated a 2-0 home victory over the Philippines, will also advance from Group F.