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Nov 14, 2011

Thais look to lift nation

Thailand coach Winifried Schaefer says his team have the opportunity to lift the spirits of an entire nation when they take on Australia in a World Cup qualifier in Bangkok on Tuesday.

The Thai capital has been the centre of recent flooding, forcing the match to move from the Rajamangala Stadium - being used as a refuge centre - to the Supachalasai Stadium. Heavy monsoon rains have caused great devastation in south-east Asia, and despite an interrupted preparation, Shaefer will feel his players now have added motivation for the clash.

"Many of my players have had water in their houses," Schaefer told Fox Sports.

"The local league has had games postponed for three weeks, and while I have been able to train them, match practice is more important. For some, the game against Saudi [Arabia] was their first in a month. But now, they have to play two games in five days with a long journey in between - it's not good for my players."

Adding to the occasion, Schaefer and Australia manager Holger Osieck have a long-standing relationship. The two Germans, though, will put their friendship aside with crucial Group D points on the line.

"Holger is a good man and I'm happy he's having success," said Schafer. "But I hope he'll be congratulating me after the game when we share a glass of red wine. This is a final for us, and we hope to give our people a big lift after the floods."

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