The USWNT will open up their World Cup journey against Thailand in group play at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims, France on Tuesday, June 11 (3 p.m. ET on FOX and Telemundo). The meeting will be only the second time the U.S. has faced Thailand as well as the beginning of just the second World Cup in Thailand’s program history. With both nations looking to start their World Cup on the right note, here’s what you need to know about Thailand:
Thai Roster Packs a Pair of U.S. College Players
Thailand’s roster includes two players who are learning their trade at American universities. Goalkeeper Tiffany Sornpao (Kennesaw State) and forward Miranda Nild (UC Berkley) have experienced the rigors of NCAA Division I play. The rest of the roster carries over a good amount of familiarity with one another from club level as four club in south east Asia supply nearly all the rest of the players.
GOALKEEPERS (3): 1-Waraporn Boonsing (Bundit Asia), 18-Sukanya Chor Charoenying (Air Force Central FC), 22-Tiffany Sornpao (Kennesaw State, USA)
DEFENDERS (8): 2-Kanjanaporn Saenkhun (Bundit Asia), 3-Natthakarn Chinwong (Bundit Asia), 4-Duangnapa Sritala (Bangkok), 5-Ainon Phancha (Chonburi FC), 9-Warunee Phetwiset (Chonburi FC), 10-Sunisa Srangthaisong (Bundit Asia), 11-Sudarat Chuchuen (Srisaket), 23-Phonpirun Philawan (Bundit Asia)
MIDFIELDERS (7): 6-Pikul Khueanpet (Bundit Asia), 7-Silawan Intamee (Chonburi FC), 13-Orathai Srimanee (Bundit Asia), 15-Orapin Waenngoen (Bundit Asia), 16-Khwanrudi Saengchan (Bundit Asia), 20-Wilaiporn Boothduang (Bangkok), 21-Kanjana Sung-Ngoen (Bangkok)
FORWARDS (5): 8-Miranda Nild (UC Berkeley, USA), 12-Rattikan Thongsombut (Bundit Asia), 14-Saowalak Pengngam (Chonburi FC), 17-Taneekarn Dangda (Bangkok), 19-Pitsamai Sornsai (Chonburi FC)
On Sept. 15, 2016 in Columbus, Ohio, the USA and Thailand met for the first time. The resulting 9-0 victory for the red, white and blue saw former USWNT member Heather O’Reilly get on the board early with a finish in the 5th minute, serving as a special moment in her final game before entering retirement. Contributions from Carli Lloyd (a hattrick!) and Alex Morgan (two goals) assisted the eventful first match-up between the two nations. Seventeen of the 18 U.S. players who played in that match are on the 2019 World Cup Roster.
Path to WWC 2019
Thailand clenched a spot in France by making it to the semifinals of the 2018 AFC Women’s Cup. Thailand almost pulled off a massive semifinal upset when it faced top-ranked Australia as the teams battled to a 2-2 tie in regulation. Australia then went on to defeat Thailand in a penalty shoot-out, and Thailand fell to China PR in the third-place match.
First Experience on the World Stage
Thailand participated in its first Women’s World Cup at the senior level in 2015 in Canada. It qualified by finishing fifth in the Asian Qualifying tournament to secure the final spot in the tournament. Thailand put in a respectable first World Cup performance, losing 4-0 to long-time power Norway before picking up its first win in a FIFA competition with a 3-2 victory against Ivory Coast. Thailand was then defeated 4-0 by then world No. 1 Germany and bowed out of the tournament.
Thailand’s historic victory against the Ivory Coast featured two goals from Orathai Srimanee and one from Thanatta Chawong. Orathai Srimanee is on the Thai roster to face the USA.
From the Field to the TouchlineThailand head coach Nuengruethai Sathongwienis a former Thai professional football player. She returned as head coach after the resignation of former English Premier League defender Spencer Prior in 2017. Sathongwien lead the Thai National Team to their first ever Women’s World Cup in 2015 and will march them into France come Tuesday.
Thailand hosted the 2004 FIFA U-19 Women’s World Cup (which was the last FIFA women’s tournament held at the U-19 level before it moved to the U-20s in 2006). The USA finished third in that tournament, which was won by Germany. Becky Sauerbrunn, Ashlyn Harris and Angie Woznuk made the All-Tournament Team in that World Cup. Woznuk won the Silver Ball and the Bronze Boot in that tournament.