MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine national football squad is the most improved team in Southeast Asia based on the recent world rankings released by FIFA.
The Azkals, now ranked 148 in the world, went up 8 places from their previous ranking of No. 156.
They are now the third best Southeast Asian (SEA) team behind front runners Vietnam (No. 97) and Thailand (No. 147).
The Philippines also ranked higher than Southeast Asian powerhouses Indonesia (No. 151) and Malaysia (No. 156).
Vietnam moved one place up, while Thailand fell two ranks down.
Indonesia and Malaysia also fell in the world rankings. Both of them went 4 places down.
In their most recent outing, The Azkals made a historical third place finish in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup where they defeated former champions India and Tajikistan.
They outlasted Palestine, 4-3, for the bronze medal losing to Turkmenistan in the semis.
The next major competition for the Philippine Azkals will be the AFF Suzuki Cup late in 2012.
Current FIFA rankings for Southeast Asian teams
97th – Vietnam
141st – Thailand
148th – Philippines
151st – Indonesia
156th – Malaysia
158th – Singapore
173rd – Cambodia
173rd – Myanmar
175th – Laos
202nd – Brunei
204th – Timor Leste