Home Sports Filipino booters take 5-0 drubbing from Iraqis

Filipino booters take 5-0 drubbing from Iraqis


Filipino booters take 5-0 drubbing from Iraqis

Philippine Azkals.–CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Philippine men’s football team’s chances of advancing to the World Cup Qualifiers, which became slimmer after a stinging 5-0 home defeat at the hands of Iraq, will now hinge on getting two victories on the road against its Southeast Asian neighbors in June.

The disappointing result before 10,014 fans at Rizal Memorial Stadium on Tuesday won’t mean the end of the bid to reach the third round, but the road coach Tom Saintfiet and his team will face is now going to be an uphill climb with Indonesia next in Jakarta followed by Vietnam in Hanoi.

“If we lose against Iraq, that doesn’t mean it’s bad,” said Saintfiet before the match. “We have an aim to develop a team to qualify.”

The team, formerly known as the Azkals until new management decided to retire its famous moniker, remained at the bottom of Group F with one point.

Second-place chase

Indonesia and Vietnam are facing off in the other group match in Hanoi at presstime, with the winner tightening its grip on second spot.

Indonesia entered the match in second place with four points with Vietnam carrying three points.

The top two teams will enter the third round of the World Cup Qualifiers while getting a direct entry into the 2027 Asian Cup, to be hosted by Saudi Arabia.

At this stage of the competition, the realistic chances are for the Philippines to be relegated into the third round of the Asian Cup where the six remaining slots, given to the group winners, will be at stake for a place in the continental tourney.

“It doesn’t matter [how we qualify in the Asian Cup, but] we want to be there,” Saintfiet said. INQ

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