Thailand to make a statement start against Indonesia

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Thailand and Indonesia face-off in the opening battle of Group B, this preview is brought to you by Schick Quattro Titanium 4

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Group B of the 2017 KL SEA Games starts on Tuesday after the completion of the first batch of matches in Group A on Monday and it sees one of the biggest clashes in the group with Indonesia taking on Thailand. Outcome of this match could very well decide the fortunes of both teams as they look to make the knockout stage of the competition.

They have only just met each other in the AFC Under-23 Championship qualifiers that was held in Bangkok in July. Though that match finished 0-0, heavy rain had made the pitch unplayable and the conditions affected both teams. 

One month later, the two teams meet each other again in their opening fixture of the group and situation slightly different from before. Apart from the expected improved conditions at Shah Alam Stadium, there have also been changes in the squad since they last met.

Schick commercial Indonesia v Thailand

While head coach of Indonesia, Luis Milla did say after the team managers' meeting on Sunday that both teams had looked equal in the previous match, deep down he would probably have realised that Thailand would go into this match as favourites. With the War Elephants expected to be on the attack, Milla's conundrum in picking his central defensive duo is not ideal.

Hansamu Yama has nailed his place in the starting line-up for the centre back position but who his partner will be is yet to be finalised. According to latest report from Goal Indonesia, Milla is still contemplating from the trio of Ricky Fajrin, Andy Setyo Nugroho and Ryuji Utomo. 

However Milla can rely on the experience of Evan Dimas in midfield to hold the team together and if the midfield is able to support Marinus Mariyanto, there's no reason why Indonesia can't be a threat at the other end of the pitch.

Schick commercial Indonesia v Thailand

For Worrawoot Srimaka, he knows the pressure and expectations are high on his team to retain the gold medal that they won in the 2015 games. Having finished behind Malaysia in the recent AFC U23 qualifiers, for one reason or another - the former Thai international will feel that he has something to prove in this tournament.

And yet, his task is made a lot simpler by the sheer fact that Thailand has undoubtedly the best squad available in the tournament. If they are to repeat their incredible run in 2015 where they won every single match enroute to winning the gold medal, it would come as no surprise to anyone.

Sasalak Haiprakhorn, Nattawut Sombatyotha and Chaiyawat Buran are expected to the attacking trident behind Chenrop Samphaodi as Thailand look to heap the pressure on Indonesia right from the start. With the match being played in the late afternoon, the hot and humid weather conditions could stifle a little of the Thai energy.

Despite that, there's only one favourite going into this match and Thailand look set to set a marker on the competition as well as provide a warning to the other teams in the competition that they are here to crush all before them. As for Indonesia, their battle may lie beyond this match in search of a place in the semi-finals.

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