Thailand may be usual underdogs at the 11-a-side game, but on the futsal court they are one of Asia's finest sides. At the FIFA Futsal World Cup Chinese Taipei 2004, 'The Nation of Smiles' registered a memorable 3–2 win over Australia.
In May 2008, Thailand was the host for the AFC Futsal Championship. Even before the tournament kick-off, hosts Thailand were tipped to challenge favourites Iran. Despite the expectations, however, they started slowly but managed nonetheless to eke out a narrow win over Iraq. An 11–0 reverse of Indonesia showed their credentials thereafter, and then came a 3–1 win over Kyrgyzstan. Thailand's 5–2 quarter-final defeat of Australia sealed their progression to this year's FIFA Futsal World Cup, and they then undid China PR to reach the continental decider, where they fell 4–0 to Iran.
The past Thailand's status as one of Asia's futsal heavyweights is beyond dispute. On four occasions, the Thais have finished third in the AFC Futsal Championship, and in 2008 they went all the way to the final. Nor are the War Elephants strangers to the global stage, having featured in the past three FIFA Futsal World Cups. Although they have yet to progress beyond the first round in those trio of prior appearances, they have put in some excellent showings including a 3–2 win over Australia at Chinese Taipei 2004, before inflicting a 5–3 defeat on USA in Brazil 2008 ago.
The present Recent years have seen a changing of the guard in Thailand, with a host of talented youngsters breaking into the national team to fill the void left by some former stalwarts. Leading the up-and-comers is 22-year-old striker Suphawut Thueanklang, who has been scoring regularly for both club and country. To complement these emerging hopefuls with experience, veteran stars such as defender Panuwat Janta and striker Ekkapong Suratsawang are likely to resume their key roles in time for November's global finals.
The future Awarded automatic qualification for this year's FIFA Futsal World Cup as the host nation, Thailand have set their sights on making history. They may have failed to live up to expectations in the 2010 AFC Futsal Championship, crashing out to China in the quarter-finals, but coach Victor Hermans' new-look side are aiming to shrug off past disappointment and provide a strong showing. "Our goal is to reach the quarter-finals in the World Cup on our home soil," Thailand team manager Suttipun Wanwinwes told FIFA.com. "We will make the best of the next ten months, which includes the 2012 Asian championship, to prepare the team to make sure that happens.”