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New coach for Thailand after muted World Cup campaign start

Thailand’s football team have parted ways with head coach Alexandre Polking, officials said Wednesday, after a mixed start to their 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign.

A 3-1 win over Singapore on Tuesday was not enough to save the Brazilian-German’s job, after his men went down 2-1 to China last week.

Team manager Nualphan Lamsam said Polking would be replaced by Masatada Ishii, the 56-year-old Japanese coach who led Buriram United to Thai Premier League titles in 2022 and 2023.

“We need to select a coach that is most familiar to the Thai national football team, so we picked Coach Ishii who is very experienced,” Nualphan said in a statement on her Facebook page.

The War Elephants lie second in their World Cup qualifying group behind South Korea, who they face in their next qualifier in March.

Thailand, 111th in the FIFA rankings, have never made it to the finals of a World Cup.

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