Struggling Thailand need win to keep dream alive
BANGKOK, May 30 (Reuters) - Thailand are gearing up for a make-or-break match with table-toppers Bahrain on Monday, when anything less than a win will signal an end to their 2010 World Cup hopes.
Bottom of Group 2 after defeats from their opening two games, the Thais must get past a gritty Gulf side who have won both their matches and are yet to concede a goal.
However, after resounding home wins recently against Premier League Manchester City and Asian champions Iraq, coach Charnwit Polcheewin is confident of victory.
'It's a game we must win, we're at home and we're playing better than before,' he told Reuters.
'The pressure is on. This is really our last chance. Bahrain are a very good team, they'll be hard to beat, but we have to win this.'
Striker Teerathep Winothai added: 'We always go for a win in every match. We can beat Bahrain on our own soil.'
Neither side has reached the World Cup finals before, although Bahrain came within a whisker when they lost a playoff to Trinidad and Tobago for a berth in the 2006 competition.
Bahrain are undefeated since last year's Asian Cup and comfortably beat Singapore 1-0 in a warm-up match on Wednesday.
The upcoming round of matches will be the first in a gruelling month for Asian teams, who must play their remaining four qualifiers in the space of 20 days.
The competition will then be reduced to a final round of 10 teams, four of which will qualify for South Africa 2010, with the fifth-placed side entering a playoff with the Oceania winners.