Great Shots by Anton Sheker
The Azkals coming off a strengthening process after reaching historical milestones such as the AFC Challenge Cup 2012 3rd place finish are approaching an almost new phase in their preparations for the the region's most prestigious tournament, the AFF Suzuki Cup 2012.
The Philippines started off with a draw in Cambodia, 0-0 Score line last Wednesday did not really reflect the story that went with it. We had the upper hand as to controlling the match tempo and creating chances but was just not able to finish with a goal. Quite unlucky too as we could have scored but it's either the post saving it for Cambodia, or us missing it an inch wide and hitting it a little off target. The pitch was horrible and as if it was not meant to be for us...rain made it even more worst. No argument, many people said that we could have done better but this is football.
One big revelation however, is the quality shown by Filipino-Belgian Patrick Reichelt who came in as a impact-sub in the later half.
Expectations are high but these friendlies are tests for the team to know where and when to put on the needed adjustments. Winning is great, but the journey towards it is even greater.
Friday, Sept. 7, 2012 saw the Azkals battling regional football powerhouse Singapore. The Philippines twisting history again by defeating The Lions 2 - 0 in what many would describe as a glimpse of our potentials best displayed. Bob Guerrero would account this win for the Philippines as the 1st in the last 40 Years. FIFA would revealed our country defeating Singapore in 1972 with the same score.
Chieffy Caligdong scored in the 1st goal creating a shot for himself at 8' minute mark, followed by a precise curve shot by Phil Younghusband for the 2nd goal in the 48' minute at the 2nd half. Our defenders being led by Rob Gier, Jason Sabio, Carli De Murga and Jeffrey Christiaens were solid to help fend off Singapore's attack providing much needed defensive cover for our No.1 GK Neil Etherdige at the post.
The arrival of Filipino-German Stephan Schrock and playing along side with the team Vs Singapore is one big boost for the Philippines. Schrock was involved in a number of visionary passing that helped scored both goals. An assist to Chieffy and a great ball to set Phil Younghusband made a lot of difference. Stephan would then say that he is just a small piece of the team and that everyone played a great game.
Everyone has been waiting for the most formidable Azkals squad ever, but the hardship of trying to get our best team is always a work in progress since many of them still play for their European clubs. Having get them to play together for a short period is a leisure for both the country and the management but it is never impossible.
The Azkals is now enjoying a little bit more flexibility in trying to field the best squad in every match. The move of Fil-Europeans like Jason De Jong, Dennis Wolf and Patrick Reichelt for instance to our United Football League (UFL) is instrumental to the success of the national team. Younger players are influenced and more Filipinos are taking on the challenge than ever before with the emergence of professional football in the country.
A young 9 year old Filipino kid Sandro Reyes has been accepted to Barcelona's Futbol Escola, the development of our grass root programs and the recent partnership of DEPed & PFF. The many more undiscovered young Filipino talents in the country with football genes waiting to be polished...the future looks promising.
The Philippines National Football Team is now on its 3rd and final ASEAN 3-Nation tour in Laos. They will play a friendly game with the host country on Monday, Sept. 10, 2012. The Azkals will miss the services of Phil & James Younghusband which is due to a very important family commitment, while Jerry Lucena has been recalled by his club, the final line up for LAOS is listed below from the Official Site.
The following national team players have been called up for the friendly against Laos on September 10, 2012.
Goalkeepers: Neil Leonard Etheridge, Eduard Sacapano, Ref Delany Cuaresma
Defenders: David Mark Basa, Robert James Gier, Jason Abbott Sabio, Carlos Alberto Martinez de Murga, Roel Gener
Midfielders: Marwin Angeles, Marvin Angeles, Misagh Bahadoran, Emelio Caligdong, Jeffrey Christiaens, Jason Nicolas Maria De Jong, Nestorio Margarse Jr., Paul Mulders, Jose Elmer Porteria, Andres Crisanto Gonzales, Patrick Reichelt, Stephan Schrock
Forwards: Ian Araneta, Denis Wolf
Younghusbands lift Azkals to 4-0 triumph
Posted Yahoo Philippines
by Sid Ventura
Phil Younghusband scored two goals and helped set up a third, while brother James added another one as the Philippine Azkals whitewashed Nepal, 4-0, in their FIFA-sanctioned international friendly Tuesday night at the Rizal Football Stadium. A month and a day after their mother's untimely passing, the Younghusband brothers were in their element as they helped the Azkals dominate the Nepalese, ranked 31 places higher in the FIFA rankings, on both ends of the field.
"From now on all my games are dedicated to my mum and dad," Phil said. "They're looking down on us now. The fact that me and my brother scored makes it special for my mum."
Susan Younghusband died suddenly of a heart attack on September 10, while the Azkals were training in Bacolod. She would have been proud of her sons last night.
Phil first struck in the 17th minute with a shot from the right flank off a brilliant pass from Paul Mulders to give the Azkals an early 1-nil lead. Thirteen minutes later, James doubled the lead with a vicious strike from just outside the penalty box that found the back of the net in the far right corner of Nepal's goal.
Even before the Younghusbands' twin goals, the Azkals already had three excellent chances to score. In the fourth minute, Nepal keeper Ritesh Thapa failed to clear a cross from the right, leaving Ian Araneta with a good shot on goal. But the Nepal defense blocked the shot at the last minute. In the ninth, a good cross from James Younghusband found Chieffy Caligdong wide open on the left flank just yards from the goal, but the Air Force striker put too much behind his shot and the ball sailed wide over the crossbar. In the 15th, Araneta was again the recipient of a good cross from James Younghusband and only had Thapa to beat, but the Nepalese keeper was up to the task and foiled Araneta's attempt.
In the 12th minute, Sujai Shrestha had the best chance to get on the board for Nepal, his strike from the left just missing the post by inches. Other than that, the Azkals totally dominated the first half.
The second half saw the Nepalese, down 0-2, sending more men forward, but it was the Philippines that scored again when Phil recovered a deflected shot by Dennis Cagara inside the penalty box for a strike in the 54th minute that made it 3-nil.
Late substitute Matthew Hartmann made it 4-nil in the 89th minute after receiving a short pass from Phil near the top of the box and blasting home a shot to the left portion of the goal that Thapa just couldn't reach.
It was a good turnaround from the 0-2 defeat the Azkals suffered at the hands of Singapore last Friday, and for Coach Hans Michael Weiss, it was the result he had hoped for.
"In the meeting we had earlier on," Weiss said, "we sat together and discussed that we wanted to end this year with a bang, and have a clear answer to the people who weren't happy with our results. Offensive football in the first half [was] fantastic."
If Weiss was pleased, Nepal coach Graham Thomas could not contain his displeasure with his side's performance, which was marred by faulty passing and porous defense.
"We never turned up in the first minute," Thomas said. "I've never been ashamed of my team ever. And I was ashamed in the first half. We never passed the ball.
"The first goal, absolute disgrace. The captain gave up the ball. It's hard to take this. Their excuse will be we haven't played for three months. Well, I don't accept excuses."
But Thomas was also quick give credit to the Azkals, and admitted they were the better team.
"Tonight, I thought the Philippines were fantastic. They passed the ball well. I don't usually have a go at my team, but we never showed up tonight. But not to take any credit away from the Philippines. They were fantastic."
The Azkals will now take a break and resume training in January for the AFC Challenge Cup. With the progress made this year and a potentially loaded line-up in the works, 2012 promises to be an exciting one.
"I've been playing for the last six or seven years," Phil Younghusband said. "I think now we have players that complement each other. We have a team that can potentially be very good."
"If you can imagine (Stephan) Schrock, Manny Ott, (Angel) Guirado on this team, we can have a very, very bright future," Weiss said, referring to three quality players who were not around against Nepal.
The German coach added he hoped the players will get to stay in shape playing in the United Football League, which got underway last Saturday.
"After a minimal break, they should resume high-level training with our clubs," Weiss said. "With the UFL getting more professional, it will be good. If we now drop back with our efforts in training, it will not help us."
Weiss, meanwhile, will now shift his attention to the under-23 team that will be competing in next month's Southeast Asian Games in Jakarta. The team will be in Japan from October 24 to 31 for a mini-camp as they try to win a medal in football for the first time ever.
"We will go on the 31st to Indonesia due to early start of the football competition. It's important to get [the team] together as soon as possible."