Singapore began their quest for qualification of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Under-16 Championship on a losing note yesterday, as V. Selvaraj's team were outclassed 0-5 by Thailand.
Under the floodlights of Jalan Besar Stadium, the Republic's U-15 side started the Group H game well with neat passing.
But the hosts' resistance faded quickly as the Thais started to dominate possession and display superior individual skill and strength.
Selvaraj conceded after the match: "We did not have that killer instinct in front of the goal, and the Thais have it. The Thais are physically and technically better.
"We conceded three early goals and there was a mountain to climb after that."
Thailand took the lead in the 17th minute when left winger Korawich Tasa fired a shot from the edge of the box past goalkeeper Kevin Wong. Ten minutes later, striker Jinnawat Russamee sprinted into the box to slam home a powerful drive.
And Jinnawat struck again just before the interval when he hammered in a rebound from a Tharadon Sornyoha shot.
Korawich then completed his hat-trick after strikes in the 59th and 72nd minutes.
By then, some of the Singaporean youngsters were already suffering cramps.
During last month's Lion City Cup, when the U-15s lost both their matches, the Football Association of Singapore's (FAS) head coach of national youth teams Richard Tardy criticised the team's displays as "not good enough".
The Frenchman stated that he was displeased with their technique, speed, stamina and attitude.
In yesterday's other Group H game, North Korea thrashed Cambodia 7-0.
Singapore will play the Koreans, who are the defending AFC U-16 champions, tomorrow while the Thais will meet Cambodia.