Thailand players and staff on Monday sought spiritual help from a renowned monk ahead of their World Cup qualifiers.
The national side begin their campaign in Group C of Asia’s second qualifying round for the 2026 World Cup against China at Rajamangala National Stadium in Bangkok on Thursday.
They then travel to Singapore next Tuesday.
Hot favourites South Korea are the other team in the group.
The top two teams in each of nine groups advance to the next round.
War Elephants stars and officials, led by manager Nualphan Lamsam and coach Mano Polking, visited Chao Khun Thongchai at Wat Trai Mit Witthayaram in Bangkok.
The players include co-captains Chanathip Songkrasin and Theerathon Bunmathan, Teerasil Dangda, Sarach Yooyen, Pansa Hemviboon and Kritsada Kaman.
Chao Khun Thongchai gave the Thai team his blessings as well as amulets and fabric talismans.
“We sought moral support from Chao Khun Thongchai,” said Pansa. “I am ready for the match against China.”
Kritsada also said he was ready to take on the Chinese.
“The match against China won’t be easy,” he said.
“China are a strong team but we aim to get three points.”
Meanwhile, South Korea kick off their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Singapore on Thursday, before travelling to face China five days later.
South Korea coach Juergen Klinsmann said he had travelled to Singapore to observe their first opponents and warned his players that they would have to “be serious”.
“You have to have a very professional mindset to go through the World Cup qualifying, even if you have more slots available,” he said.
“It would be the wrong way to look at it.”
Klinsmann has not had a smooth ride since taking the job, with supporters and media accusing him of reneging on a pledge to move to the country, saying he spends more time at home in California than he does in South Korea.
Klinsmann defended his approach by pointing out that 70 percent of his players were based in Europe and said he would “not change the way I work”.
“The KFA knew that I would go back and forth, they knew that I look at my work from an international perspective and not from a domestic,” he said.
“I’m not a K-League coach, I’m an international coach.” bangkok post/afp