Azkals vs Guam: A Preview-A A +A
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
The Philippine Azkals will play Guam in a friendly match here in Panaad Stadium today, June 12, in front of what is expected to be another sellout crowd.
The Azkals’ two previous friendly against Malaysia and Indonesia ended up in a draw. This time, coach Hans Michael Weiss’s team will go for the all-out victory.
Coach Weiss has been experimenting lately with the team due to its depth, unlike in the preceding years where the team has to look for more dependable players to have a fighting stance against more formidable opponents.
Due to its success in the AFC tournament where it placed third, the Azkals’ ranking took a big leap. It is currently ranked 149 by the FIFA.
Guam? Well, little can be said about the team. It last played in September 2011 and won over Vanuatu 4-1. It is currently ranked 194 but sometimes the ranking system does not apply to football.
So what will the Azkals do to avoid an upset? Here are some points to ponder:
Never Give Room for Complacency. The Philippine Azkals has been playing good football lately and we can see that through the results in when they played in international competitions.
Cohesion and team chemistry has improved a lot since Weiss took over at the helm. Players’ competitiveness and resiliency has been sharpened and, against the lowly ranked Guam, expect a burst of fireworks in the pitch.
This time, we expect coach Weiss to start his best unit in the field, Phil and James Younghusband and Neil Etheridge included. To give experience to his deep bench, he may substitute for three or more players to continue the pressure and sustain the momentum given by the starters.
Fabulous Fans. Bacolod has been kind to the Azkals and one of the reason why they rose to prominence was how the fans treat them and support them in their match.
Take for example the last time the Azkals played here against Mongolia. Football aficionados trooped to Panaad to display their love for the game. The Azkals did not disappoint and took control of the game and Chieffy Caligdong scored a historic goal that put the stadium in pandemonium.
This time, however, Chieffy will be missed due to a one game suspension imposed by FIFA for having a red card against Indonesia last week.
As we said, football is alive and well here in Negros and it’s the reason why the Azkals will give it their 100% game.
V for Victory. With so much talent and experience behind the team, expect the Azkals to hound Guam and control the midfield early and take decisive attacks that will definitely give joy to the fans.
Expect the Azkals to play full swing this time and a 5-0 score is achievable. Of course, unless Guam has discovered players in the last 10 months that will make them competitive.
With the advantage on our side, Independence Day in Panaad will be an array of fireworks that will give the ultimate football fan something to cherish for a long time. (Jun-Jun Carballo, Contributor)
Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on June 13, 2012.