The Syrian national team should be arriving any minute now. Expect a rousy reception at the airport? No chance.
So what do we know about them?
So far this year, they have played 14 games in this calendar year, thus far winning 10 of them, but whom have they played?
Well, they beat China in January in an ACQ, but it must be said, this is a weak China.
Besides then drawing with South Korea, Syria have generally faced oppostition they and Thailand would expect to beat. The likes of Lebanon, Sri Lanka and Kyrgyzstan.
The bulk of the games have also been played in the Indian Nehru Cup, of which Thailand were invited too, and then turned away after giving the Indian authorites an Under 19 team lineup.
Syria played well at the tournament, but sucummbed to an average Indian team in the final. An Indian team I would expect Thailand to beat home or away.
We have met on 3 previous occasions, all on neutral ground and the last meeting being way back in 1984. Thailand have won all 3 encounters.
13/07/78 Thailand 3 - 1 Syria (Kuala Kumpur, Friendly)
23/11/82 Thailand 3 - 1 Syria (New Delhi, Friendly)
13/08/84 Thailand 3 - 2 Syria (Jakarta, Asian Cup Qualifier)
My opinion on Syria
My honest opinion... an up and coming team in Asia. More often than not, overlooked by their Arab neighbours.
They get the job done on home soil against weaker nations, but can struggle away from home.
Domestic league teams have faired well in continental competitions, particulary Al Karamah, but when the going gets tough, they can well struggle.
Should be a good matchup against Thailand, but with players just coming back from AFC Cup action, we should catch them on a bit of a downer and possibly catch them cold.
Hopefully, it will be a kick start for Robson's new Thai Army
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