Thailand's national football team put up a valiant effort and dominated play for portions of the match in a stunning 2-2 draw with Australia in FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifiers. The match was a thrilling display of skill and heart as the Thai team went all out in honour of their late king Bhumibol Adulyadej, in front over 50,000 fans.
Australia were first on the scoreboard when a shot inside of the box went off a defender's hand. Aston Villa's Miles Jedinak converted the spot kick. SCG Muangthong United's Teerasil Dangda scored two goals, however, to put Thailand ahead early in the second half, the second of which was a penalty kick after midfielder Teerathon Bunmathan was upended.
Muangthong's keeper, Kawin Thamsatchanan, also gave a solid performance with strong saves. Team Thailand worked hard and closed down the Australian players quickly, leading to turn overs and sloppy plays on the part of the Socceroos. The equalizer for Australia was yet another penalty call, and once again Jedinak took the kick, and though Kawin moved correctly the save was just out of reach.
Thailand have played Australia, the current Asian champions, five times in the past and lost each time. With Australia ranked 40th in the world, Thailand did very well to earn the point and the result should improve their place in the world. The Thais have had a rough start to this round of qualifiers, and though they were never expected to do well, the results do not reflect the quality and effort the team have put forth.
The Thai national team will soon depart for the Philippines for the AFF Suzuki Cup where they seek to defend their place as #1 in ASEAN, while the next World Cup qualifiers will be in March of 2017.