The Lions suffered another loss in a 3-1 loss to Thailand in World Cup qualifying

SINGAPORE – On a day when the Singapore national football team’s 2026 World Cup qualifying campaign ended with another defeat (3-1 to Thailand), striker Ikhsan Fandi provided a rare bright spark for the Lions.

The Singapore forward’s goal in the 57th minute broke Thai hearts as the players fell to the ground crying after the final whistle after missing out on qualification by one goal. China will advance to the next round at its expense.

However, Singapore’s defeat meant the Lions ended their four-team Group C qualifying campaign with no wins, one draw and five losses in six matches. During the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, in which they were in a group of five, Singapore had two wins, one draw and five losses.

The War Elephants began the match needing a three-goal victory over Singapore to overtake second-placed China on goal difference and join group winners South Korea in the next round.

The top two teams from each of the nine groups advance to the third round, where places for the 2026 World Cup will be decided. South Korea recorded a 1-0 victory over China in Seoul, in a match that began before that the meeting of the Thais with Singapore began. While China and Thailand finish the group stage tied on points and goal difference, China advances thanks to a better head-to-head record, having beaten Thailand 2-1 in November.

The Thais started out like the hunters when the lions were forced to retreat in the face of an onslaught of attacks. A header from forward Ikhsan Fandi in the ninth minute that went wide was the visitors’ only notable play in the first half.

The floodgates opened in the 37th minute after a lack of concentration from Singapore. A quickly taken free kick caught the Singapore defense by surprise as Chanathip Songkrasin ran onto Theerathon Bunmathan’s pass and put it on a plate for Belgium-based Suphanat Mueanta to finish.