Head coach Scott Cooper is optimistic about the team’s chances to advance in the World Cup qualifiers
By Nicole Ganglani | Photo from Philippine Football Federation
The Philippine men’s national football team is currently in Guam to compete for a slot in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The Azkals failed to win their first game against Syria after falling short by three goals (5-2) last Tuesday. But they’re set on bouncing back through a match against lower-ranked team Guam this afternoon at the Guam National Training Center in Dededo.
The advantage will be on the Azkals’ side if they can limit their turnovers and start the game the way they did versus Syria. In their last game, Javier Patiño secured the first goal of the Philippines from the header seven minutes into the match. But the Filipinos collapsed under the offense of Serbia and dealt with a number of struggles (including a handball violation) in the second half.
Despite going up against a lower seeded team, the Azkals will still have to control the whole game against Guam. The last time these two teams went up against each other was in 2012 where the Philippines won 3-0 and 1-0. This time, national coach Scott Cooper said that the Azkals have a wider pool of players, and so they’re optimistic about their chances in making it past the second round of the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.
— Cedelf P. Tupas (@cedelfptINQ) September 10, 2019
The Philippines is in the same bracket as China, Syria, Guam, and Maldives. In order to advance to the next round, the Azkals must at least make it to the top two.
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Just last January, the Philippines took part in their first major football tournament after they made their debut in the 2019 American Football Conference. The Azkals were considered the underdogs entering the tournament but they shocked the league with their potential after almost defeating powerhouse South Korea (0-1).
While there are still some room for improvement, the Azkals are slowly becoming contenders in the world cup. They will see more action in a number of tournaments like the AFC Asian Cup, Asean Football Federation (AFF) Championships, and hopefully the second round of the World Cup Qualifiers.
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