Mano Polking, head coach of the Thai national soccer team, said on Tuesday (June 30), “Korea will be difficult, but the Thai national soccer team is good enough to advance to the next round. We will go all-in against China at home.”
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) held the draw for the second round of qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup North America at the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on July 27.
As a result of the draw, South Korea will face either China-Thailand-Singapore or Guam in the same group.
The draw is a change of pace from previous years, which has resulted in some of the toughest groups in the second round of qualifying.The first round of qualifying featured the bottom 18 nations in the AFC based on FIFA rankings.
The nine winners of the first qualifying round will join the 27 remaining AFC members in the second round, which will be played on a home-and-home basis from November to June next year.
The first and second place finishers in each group will qualify for the 2027 Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia.
South Korea, which is ranked fourth in the FIFA rankings among AFC members (Japan, Australia, Iran and South Korea), has been drawn as the top seed for the second qualifying round. China was drawn as the second seed and Thailand as the third seed.
The third qualifying round has also been revamped. Due to the increased number of teams participating in the World Cup knockout stage (48 nations), the AFC will receive a total of 8.5 tickets to the tournament.
These will be divided into three groups, with the top two qualifying directly to the World Cup. The remaining 2.5 spots will be decided through a fourth round of qualifying and an intercontinental playoff.
“This grouping is actually neither good nor bad,” said head coach Paul King, “South Korea in particular is a very difficult opponent for Thailand.” 메이저놀이터
“But we can still make it to the next round. We need the support of our fans. We have to beat China first.”
In the end, the team will go all out against China in the first leg at home. “I believe we can do it,” said head coach Paul King. We need to get six points from the first and second rounds, including home games against China.”
Indeed, for Thailand, the first two rounds are likely to be the real test, as the third and fourth rounds are home and away with South Korea.