Thailand’s Wonggorn wants more after historic achievement
Bangkok: Thailand may have already made history by reaching their first-ever AFC U23 Championship knockout stage but Jaroensak Wonggorn isn’t satisfied yet.
The midfielder’s fifth minute penalty secured Thailand a 1-1 draw with Iraq in their final Group A match on Tuesday, giving Thailand the point needed to seal their place in the knockout stage for the first time in three appearances at the AFC U23 Championship.
Wonggorn admitted he felt tremendous pressure when taking the spot-kick but the 22-year-old said head coach Akira Nishino’s faith in him and the hours spent in training boosted his confidence.
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“Of course I felt the pressure when taking the penalty, but I’ve been in that position before and the coach was confident in me,” said Wonggorn. “I had to be brave for the team, because any player can take the penalty.
“Coach Nishino always says the same thing in every match, that we should not be afraid because it doesn’t matter who we go up against as long we believe in ourselves.”
After a win, draw and loss in Group A, Thailand secured their place in the quarter-finals as runners-up and will play the Group B winners at the Thammasat Stadium on Saturday.
The Samut Prakan City midfielder expressed his gratitude to the 15,000 supporters at the Rajamangala Stadium on Tuesday, and pledged that the team will strive to deliver.
“The fans are part of the reason why we qualified and I want to thank them.
“This is a very special feeling because this is the first time we’ve reached the quarter-finals but our target is not only to be in the last eight. We want to reach the semi-finals and the final, and also get that Olympic ticket.”
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