Why the Azkals needed the 0-3 loss to Thailand

After bowing to Thailand in a friendly match last night, the Philippine Azkals are back in the drawing board in preparation for the Suzuki Cup. Here are some points on why we needed that loss.


Forget the FIFA rankings

I have said this before in a previous post and will say it again, the rankings will only show how ACTIVE your national team is in the last few years but will neither dictate performance nor give a sure win.

Many of our fans have been obsessing on the #1 ranking tag in the ASEAN region and it gives us a wrong mindset in the way we approach games. To be honest, we are probably #5 in the seniors and #10 for U23 and below.

It is good to note that Thailand’s U23 team reached the semis of the Asian Games this year and I wouldn’t be surprised if that what the same team that beat us last night. We still have so much to work on in all levels to deserve the #1 rank.

Speed of the ASEAN game

We played Thailand’s A-B team and we lost after they put on a counter attacking clinic last night. It is something I expected that we would struggle with this year and it manifested in the game.

The National team has a new set of players and we needed that beating to re-introduce how big speed is a factor in the south east asian game. We expect nothing less from Laos, Indonesia, and Vietnam in a few weeks time.

So how this is good for us?

Tournament wise, we just put ourselves out as favorites in the Suzuki cup after the recent losses to Myanmar and Thailand. The less attention would probably give us an advantage as Indonesia and Vietnam are sure to be overconfident in making the semis right now.

It’s always better that we lost big now rather than in the tournament itself. The ultimate reason Thomas Dooley was hired is to bring the team to the next level and it’s good that we have some days to work on our game especially our weaknesses.

There were some people around social media that were clamoring for a return of Michael Weiss and I found that utterly ridiculous. We have improved so much tactically under Dooley and it was evident last night as we controlled the possession in Thailand’s home turf.

Seeing new players and testing new combinations will be very good for us in the long run. In my opinion, Dooley was already testing out worst case scenarios last night as suspensions and injuries are inevitable in the Cup. We are only as good as our weakest player.

I predicted a 3-nil loss for our team coming into the game and sadly was spot on. What I didn’t predict though was that we played better football than I initially thought.

We may have lost big last night but what we’ve learned is far more important than the result.

3 thoughts on “Why the Azkals needed the 0-3 loss to Thailand

  1. Hi I can share your view that it is a help for seeing the deficits from the teams performance better after a loss in such a preparation game. What I cant share is that the philippine team controlled the game. Even tactically it was not possible to get a foot in the center of the field since there are not enough players to play this. It is truly ridiculous to think the old coach can do better. Its simple the standard moves and the automatism of playing precise passes what is missing and what makes the difference as well as thephysical capability of some players. Believe me, as long as in the Philippines football is a sport mainly for the rich and “Ă«ducated”people it will be difficult for each coach to bring the team to a higher level, especially when the number of quality players is reduced.

    • I may have used the wrong words but I was trying to put an impression that the PH controlled possesion in Thailands home court (which is a win for me). To some degree, Football does seem to be for the ‘elite’ in the Philippines but if we go to the provinces, its hardly the case. Mindanao is getting really stronger and it will surely be at par with Visayas soon.

      Basketball is Football’s biggest threat. But we have to coexist first and prove slowly that we should change our priorities.

    • The whole point of the friendly was to , as he said , “testing out worst case scenarios” and “Seeing new players and testing new combinations”. It was clear that the intention was not to win but to give and try out players who would be best equipped for the Cup. It’s as if he was holding tryouts for the players and looking out for who would be better suited for the big games. For example you have Alvaro Silva who had just arrived , while Gier and Guirado have been used to playing together in the back. But also you have Amani who has bigger potential than his older counterparts. Trying out new players and different positions is what I think he was trying to do. Like Bob said in his article he even tried putting Kenshiro in different positions to see how tactically flexible he is whether he can play in left back or left wing or even right back or right wing. Fitness wise I think we are more than capable of playing against bigger teams for the main reason that coach dooley is a tactical minded coach. If we were to play direct football then i would agree with you that we are lacking the pace that they have but being that he is a tactical coach he is using what we have and putting it to our advantage. He kept possession and slowly built up the attack. After all football is played 90 minutes and expecting a goal every 2-3 minutes is stupid. As for conceding, the goals that they scored were what I could consider defensive errors and I assume that was due to the lack of chemistry that the players had. I think coach dooley would be happy that we lost opened up opportunities for improvement on these scenarios if they happen in the future. But as for the Suzuki Cup I think that he is more than prepared for the challenge.

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