SINGAPORE (18 Dec 2012) – No matter what was said at the first leg final Pre-Match Press Conference this morning, the chief coaches of Singapore and Thailand know they are on the verge of creating Southeast Asian football history if they win this year’s AFF Suzuki Cup.
Singapore and Thailand have won the prestigious title three times each, making them the most successful of ASEAN teams. However, winning a fourth title would make them THE best in the region, and neither Winfried Schaefer nor Raddy Avramovic will want to miss out on that.
While both coaches were cautious with their comments this morning, they were also very clear of their intentions tomorrow. With so much at stake here, tomorrow’s first leg will likely see an all-out assault by both sides.
History also shows that any team that loses the first leg would never recover in the return leg.
Schaefer, while denying Thailand were the favourites for the first leg, stressed that he was here to for a good result. When asked if he would settle for a draw, Schafer declared: “We always play to win and it’s no different here, we want the three points. There are two matches here.”
He added that Thailand, who have not dropped a point in the tournament thus far, would have to be prepared for a tough game. “I watched them play in their last two games and they play at a high level. We have to concentrate tomorrow.”
Schaefer also thanked the players and the coaching staff. “They all worked hard and have done well to get us here. But our job is not finished yet. We are here to win the title and make the Thai people proud of us.”
Avramovic meanwhile reminded the media that he had picked out Thailand as a finalist. “I said this from their first game, they are among the best and they have very good players. Even their players on the bench are good, some played in the last Suzuki Cup.”
Tomorrow, Avramovic, who will be aiming for a third AFF Suzuki Cup title as head coach of Singapore, said both teams were capable of winning. “For me, our focus is on the first match, and when this is over, we will look at the next,” said Avramovic, who went on to say that his team must take advantage of playing at home tomorrow.
Singapore, champions in 1998, 2004 and 2006, have won every final they have qualified for and they will be aiming to keep this record intact. In fact, in 1998 and 2004, Singapore defeated Thailand in the final.
For the Thais, who have made six final appearances in this event, they went on to win the title in 1996, 2000 and 2002. The Thais, after losing their SEA Games crown in recent times and also their failure to claim the AFF Suzuki Cup, are extremely hungry for success. The question now is just how hungry the Lions are to claim the title for a record fourth time.
Final: Thailand bt Malaysia 1-0
3-4th: Vietnam bt Indonesia 3-2
Final: Singapore bt Thailand 1-0
3-4th: Indonesia bt Thailand 3-3 (Ina won 5-4 on penalties)
Final: Thailand by Indonesia 4-1
3-4th: Malaysia bt Vietnam 3-0
Final: Thailand bt Indonesia 6-4
3-4th: Vietnam bt Malaysia 2-1
Final (1st leg): Singapore bt Indonesia 2-1
Final (2nd leg): Indonesia lost to Singapore 1-3
3-4th: Malaysia bt Myanmar 2-1
Final (1st leg): Singapore bt Thailand 2-1
Final (2nd leg): Thailand-Singapore 1-1
Losing semifinalists: Malaysia, Vietnam
Final (1st leg): Thailand lost to Vietnam 1-2
Final (2nd leg): Vietnam-Thailand 1-1
Losing semifinalists: Singapore, Indonesia
Final (1st leg): Malaysia bt Indonesia 3-0
Final (2nd leg): Indonesia bt Malaysia 2-1
Losing semifinalists: Philippines, Vietnam
Final (1st leg): Singapore vs Thailand
Final (2nd leg): Thailand vs Singapore
Losing semifinalists: Philippines, Malaysia