BANGKOK, Thailand – The Philippine Azkals held their last practice Monday afternoon before their virtual do-or-die match against Southeast Asian powerhouse Vietnam on Tuesday evening.
The Philippines are stuck at the bottom of Group A with zero points following their 2-1 loss to hosts Thailand last Saturday, while Vietnam was held by Myanmar 1-1 and got only one point.
With only two matches to go, both countries are in a do-or-die mode for their match to stay in the hunt for a semi-finals berth.
Coach Hans Michael Weiss will have to sit out the Vietnam match due to his suspension after being sent off during their Thailand clash, but he laid out the game plan with the team and his staff.
For the veteran players, they are confident enough in the system that even without Weiss on the sidelines, they can still give it their best.
"Kung sino man d'yan ang tatayo bukas sa field, walang problema doon," said Chieffy Caligdong. "Hindi naapektuhan ‘yung team, nand’yan pa rin kami lahat."
For veteran defender Rob Gier, there is more pressure against Vietnam but he feels they now have what it takes to pull the team through.
"It's a do-or-die game, but this team's been together for some time now. We've picked up good results over this past year, so the confidence is still there," Gier said.
"We lost the other day to a very good Thai side who was playing on home soil with a home crowd, so there's nothing to be ashamed about with that result," he added.
"There's still six points to play for, and we’re confident we can go out and get as many as possible."
Meanwhile, an unfortunate accident happened at practice when Angel Guirado inadvertently hit Patrick Reichelt with an elbow that sent Reichelt to ground.
He lost three teeth due to the blow to his jaw and was rushed to the dentist to see if he is fit to play against Vietnam.