American-Thai forward Suchawadee Nildhamrong is dreaming of getting on the scoresheet against defending champions USA in their opening group game of the Fifa women’s World Cup in Reims on Tuesday.
The new graduate from University of California and her teammates are in the final stages of their preparation for the month-long event, which got underway with hosts France playing South Korea in the early hours of Saturday (Thailand time).
The Thai squad returns to France on Saturday after a week’s training in Belgium, where they posted one big win (9-0 against Kontich FC) and one heavy defeat (6-1 to the Belgium national team) from two warm-up games.
While Thailand will be making their second appearance in the quadrennial event, 22-year-old California-born Suchawadee will make her World Cup debut in the daunting clash against the odds-on favourites to retain their trophy.
She is no stranger to international football, however, having made her debut two years ago, scoring in a 6-0 rout of Palestine. She has maintained an impressive tally since, netting 12 times in just 17 games for the national team.
“We are almost 100 per cent ready now with just a few more days before the first game,” said the American Studies graduate, known as “Miranda” among family and friends. “We will get even better and be fully ready for the US.”
The primary focus for coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian has been to get her players at their physical peak as fitness will be key, with Group F matches against the USA, Sweden and Chile all following in quick succession
“The training is getting tougher, which will bring our team to a better direction,” Suchawadee said. “We are also working hard on tactics to make sure we will be entirely ready for the World Cup.
“We will try our best to make all Thai fans proud. If possible, I will try to score a goal in the game with the US,” the Thai striker vowed.
Thailand had three friendly games ahead of the World Cup. Apart from the matches in Belgium, they lost 3-0 to France in Orleans two weeks ago.
The Thai-USA game will kick off at 2am on Wednesday (Thailand time).
Thailand will then face world No 9 Sweden on June 16 and Chile on June 21. All the matches can be watched live on PPTV 36.