China vs Thailand

A qualification place in the 2026 World Cup qualifying Group C is on the line as China and Thailand go head-to-head at the Shenyang Olympic Sports Center Stadium.

Though China isn’t a footballing nation, just one appearance at the World Cup finals makes for unenviable reading for the world’s most populous country. It’s up to Croatian coach Branko Ivankovic to inspire the Chinese to their first World Cup qualification since 2002 when they lost all three group-stage outings. He’s firmly on track to steer the Dragon’s Team into the third qualifying stage after overseeing two wins across the opening four Group C matches (D1, L1). A superior H2H record, following a 2-1 victory in the reverse fixture, aided by a better goal difference, means China will progress into the next phase if they can avoid defeat in this match-up. They seem well-positioned to do just that, having defeated Thailand in four of their last five clashes (L1).

Meanwhile, Thailand’s perennial struggles against China paint a bleak picture, as does the fact they’ve only won once in four Group C games (D1, L2), courtesy of a 3-1 rout of Singapore. If the ‘War Elephants’ need a source of inspiration, they don’t have to look beyond a spirited 1-1 draw against group leaders South Korea on their last travel. Ominously for the traveling fans, that result extended the visitors’ abysmal winless run on foreign soil to five games (D3, L2). With Thailand failing to score in three of those five matches and netting precisely once in the other two, finding the net could be an issue. On a more positive note, they’ve only conceded three goals in their last four away internationals.

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