And now we’re here – after a year of inactivity due to the worst of the pandemic, your Philippine Azkals return to fly the flag in 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying action in June.
Having been stuck after that narrow loss to Syria in November 2019, the squad look to bounce back with 3 matches in 12 days to get their hopes of progressing to the Third Round of qualifying back on track, and the squad assembled looks fit for purpose considering the current situation.
Currently flying into Qatar as of press time for a training camp that ends at the end of May, Philippines NT coach Scott Cooper bared in a press conference last week that it was a tricky matter to fill out the squad for these qualifiers with all the circumstances going around it, but that he trusts the players to do their best and work well. On initial glancing, it looks like he’s delivered a masterstroke in squad selection.
With Neil Etheridge backstopping the squad after a very good season in the EFL Championship with Birmingham City, the outfield led by captain Stephan Schrock, reinforced with a clutch of new arrivals should do well, especially with results so far in these qualifiers on our side. The new arrivals, coming from places as diverse as Slovakia, Norway and close to home like Laguna, bring a heady infusion of energy into the squad that should see them through.
The grind begins early on, however, with an eye on our tie with China on the 9th, as that could very well decide who comes second in the group, and could punch our ticket into the Third Round. Nevertheless, advancement is always possible. Broadcast schedules for the 3 qualifiers, against Guam, China and the Maldives will be out soon, and we’ll update you as soon as they come out.
Goalkeepers – Neil Etheridge(Birmingham City, England)/Bernd Schipmann(Rot-Weiß Ahlen, Germany)/Kevin Ray Mendoza(Kuala Lumpur City FC, Malaysia)
Defenders – Alvaro Silva(BG Pathum United, Thailand)/Carli de Murga(Terengganu FC, Malaysia)/Luke Woodland(Ratchaburi Mitr Phol,Thailand)/Jesper Nyholm(Djurgardens IF,Sweden)/Martin Steuble(Port FC,Thailand)/Jefferson Tabinas(Mito HollyHock, Japan)/Mar Vincent Diano(Azkals Development Team)/Niko de Vera(Azkals Development Team)/Michael Kempter(Neuchatel Xamax,Switzerland)
Midfielders – Stephan Schrock(United City FC)/Patrick Strauß(Erzebirge Aue, Germany)/Iain Ramsey(PT Prachuap FC, Thailand)/Gerrit Holtmann(VfL Bochum, Germany)/Raphael Obermair(FC Magdeburg,Germany)/Oliver Bias(FC Nitra, Slovakia)/Jarvey Gayoso(Azkals Development Team)/Matthew Baldisimo(Pacific FC,Canada)/Mark Winhoffer(Azkals Development Team)/Lloyd Fagerlie(Molde BK, Norway)
Forwards – Mark Hartmann(United City FC)/Angel Guirado(St. Joseph’s FC,Gibraltar)
Philippines vs Guam, June 3, 3PM PST
China vs Philippines, June 9, 7:30PM PST
Philippines vs Maldives, June 15, 3PM PST
All games played at the Suzhou Sports Center in Suzhou, China.