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Thailand derailed by France's second half rally

Orléans: A late surge from France saw Thailand fall to a 3-0 defeat in their FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 warm-up match at Stade de la Source on Saturday.

Thailand kept the world’s fourth-ranked team scoreless in the first half, but Élise Bussaglia gave France the lead just after the hour mark, before substitute Kadidiatou Diani netted a late brace to seal what was ultimately a convincing win.

Nuengrutai Srathongvian’s side will now relocate to Belgium, where they will meet Belgium in a week’s time.

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Thailand’s starting line-up was full of familiar faces in Orléans, while France took a more experimental approach, with Delphine Cascarino the only one of eight Olympique Lyonnais players to start after last Saturday’s UEFA Women’s Champions League Final.

With just one win from their previous 10 international fixtures, Thailand weren’t widely expected to challenge the France, but they carved out the game’s first major scoring opportunity when Rattikan Thongsombut won possession in midfield before supplying captain Kanjana Sung-Ngoen, who pulled her shot wide in the 13th minute.

While Thailand had shown their danger in transition, France enjoyed territorial dominance, with only the regular defensive contributions from Natthakarn Chinwong - including a well-timed lunge to deny Montpellier forward Valérie Gauvin - keeping them from scoring.

As the opening period continued, so too did France’s pressure. Gaëtane Thiney hit the side netting with a free-kick in the 34th minute, before a spectacular Viviane Asseyi volley was saved by Sukanya Chor Charoenying seconds later.

Despite being on the back foot for much of the first 45 minutes, Thailand’s organisation and discipline ensured they went to the break with their clean sheet intact, but their resistance was broken in the 61st minute, with Élise Bussaglia slamming home the opener when the Southeast Asians failed to clear following a short corner routine.

Thailand introduced Taneekarn Dangda as a substitute and shifted Suchawadee Nildhamrong into a deeper midfield role, but aside from the occasional moment in transition, France remained on top.

Les Bleues had a great chance to double their lead after Natthakarn handled a cross from Sakina Karchaoui, but substitute Grace Geyoro hit the crossbar with the resulting spot-kick in the 72nd minute.

But a mix-up between Chor Charoenying and Sudarat Chuchuen allowed the hosts to make it 2-0 after all, with Diani stealing in to score from a tight angle after both Thai players left the ball for one another in a moment both will hope isn’t repeated come next month’s Finals.

Chor Charoenying produced a superb save low to her right to deny Ève Périsset from the penalty spot after Taneekarn fouled Geyoro in the dying minutes, but Diani stole in to score her second and round out the scoring at 3-0 in the 86th minute.

Appearing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the second successive edition, Thailand will meet the United States, Sweden and Chile in the tournament’s group stage.

Photos: AFP

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