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ALARM: Nishino's future unsure after failure at Olympic qualifying

ALARM: Nishino's future unsure after failure at Olympic qualifying

Thailand had to give up their dream of participating in the Olympics men’s football after a controversial 1-0 loss against Saudi Arabia U23.

At the AFC U23 Championship 2020 quarter-final, Thailand U23 was eliminated in the most unimpressive fashion. Saudi Arabia earned the benefit of a doubt from the referee and VAR to convert a crucial penalty which takes them to the semi-final of the tournament.

ALARM: Nishinos future unsure after failure at Olympic qualifying

This loss brings another failure in the objectives that the Thailand FA handed out to Akira Nishino since he signed for the nation. Impressive performance and a dazzling attacking football are what Nishino follows, but the results are not in his favor.

They failed to make it past the group stage of the SEA Games 2019 in the Philippines. Then, they can not gain the ticket to the Olympics after losing at the quarter-final in a tournament hosted at their own turf. They do not have the upper hand in the second World Cup qualification round, in a group where Vietnam and Malaysia were consistently good matches after matches.

ALARM: Nishinos future unsure after failure at Olympic qualifying

Nishino is still a good manager, but the players he has in hand do not fully match his style of football. The Thailand U23 players are all fired up at the beginning of the match, pressing high and attacking relentlessly, but that only lasts until the hour mark of the game. Since then, the fitness starts to drop, most of the players start walking, and three substitutions are not enough for him.

That leads to inevitable losses against Australia U23 and Saudi Arabia U23, against teams that have more endurance and fitness. Thailand U23 had the match in the first 60 minutes, but their chance-creating character is not good enough.

Thailand players certainly can not match the quality of the players in his last reign. Japan players are durable, full of desire in the whole 90 minutes. Who could forget the match against Belgium in the World Cup 2018, where Japan was neck-and-neck with names like Eden Hazard or Kevin De Bruyne, only to be fallen in the last minutes.

ALARM: Nishinos future unsure after failure at Olympic qualifying

And now, with the rise of Vietnam with Park Hang Seo and their organized team play, Malaysia with the well-known manager Tan Cheng Hoe, and the up-and-coming Indonesia, who recently appointed Shin Tae Yong as the manager, the stance of Thailand in South East Asia may be in danger. Upcoming AFF Suzuki Cup is the chance for Akira Nishino to prove himself against the doubts and the criticism, or else that is the end of his reign at War Elephant.