The Bangladesh national football team will be adopting a defensive strategy against Thailand when they take on the hosts in a FIFA friendly match today at the Rajamangala National Stadium. The match will start at 6:00pm local time (5:00pm Bangladesh Standard time).
"They are better than us in every department. So we are planning to strengthen the backline and play counter-attack based football as we have not played against them in a long time," said Bangladesh coach Saiful Bari Titu yesterday.
"To take on an like Thailand, the players need to be mentally tough and I can promise you that we will fight against them till the last minute," said the former national footballer hinting that he might opt for the same starting eleven that played against Nepal in September.
Playing FIFA friendlies is a new concept for Bangladesh, who played their first friendly against Nepal in Kathmandu which ended in a 1-1 draw. Bangladesh are set to play two more FIFA friendlies against Thailand and Malaysia as the game's governing body wants to give the national team more international exposure apart from the regular schedules of AFC Challenge Cup, SAFF Championship, qualifiers of World Cup and Olympic.
Bangladesh, who are 19 places behind of 152-ranked Thailand in the FIFA rankings, will play their first match against Thailand in 19 years. The last meeting between the two sides was held in Dubai in 1993 where Bangladesh lost 4-1. Bangladesh suffered an identical margin of defeat against Thailand in Tokyo later that year.
However, Bangladesh used to give more of a fight in their meetings prior to those two matches. Bangladesh even defeated Thailand twice on home ground in 1985 (1-0) and 1989 (3-1) and held them to draws three times in 13 encounters so far, according to FIFA statistics.