Star striker Teerasil Dangda wants to present Thai fans with a special festive gift - the AFF Suzuki Cup.
“I want to win the title as a New Year present for Thais,” said Teerasil, who scored a hat-trick in the 4-0 victory over Myanmar in Group A.
Teerasil, joint top-scorer in the Thai Premier League with 24 goals for champions Muangthong United last season, will likely play as the sole striker against Malaysia in Sunday’s semi-final first leg with Thailand coach Winfried Schafer looking for at least an away goal.
"It will not be an easy game but I have told my players to try to score in Kuala Lumpur," said Schafer.
"The next two games will be very important and we must get through them. The team spirit is good - it has been good since I came here [last year]."
Thailand captain Panupong Wongsa said that the team would not be intimidated by the expected full-house crowd at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium.
“We are not afraid of anything,” said Panupong, who is looking to skipper Thailand to a record fourth Asean crown. “We are an experienced team and should be able to cope with the atmosphere and other conditions.”
On Thursday, the players signed a well-wishers' book for His Majesty the King of Thailand at Siriraj Hospital, a day after the revered monarch’s 85th birthday.
The return leg of the semi-final will be played at the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkok on Thursday, December 13 with the winner taking on either Singapore or the Philippines in the home and away final.