Azkals' semis chances hinge on Myanmar match
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals’ chances of making it to the semifinal round of the 2012 Suzuki Cup will now depend on their performance against Myanmar on Friday.
Azkals coach Michael Weiss said during Thursday’s pre-game press conference that they need at least a win against Myanmar to make sure of their Top 2 placing at the end of the group stage.
“The victory over Vietnam puts us in a good position that leaves us in our own hands whether we proceed to the next round or not,” said the German coach.
Only the Top 2 teams in the group will advance to the semifinals or the Knockout Stage.
Host team Thailand currently leads Group A with six points on two wins, followed by the Philippines with three points on one victory and one defeat.
Vietnam and Myanmar have one point each on one draw and one defeat.
“The situation within the group is that every team still have a chance to go through so we should put ourselves into a winning mode,” said Weiss.
“[We] should go for a win that makes everything safe and we don't depend on other teams’ results.”
The Azkals will go up against Myanmar for their last group match on Friday.
Weiss said that despite Myanmar's record of one draw and one loss, he maintained that it is not a team to be underestimated.
“We played them on their home soil in March 2011 during the Challenge Cup qualifiers and managed to have a draw with a late equalizer, should have been a win… and in the SEA Games we also played them where they beat us 5-0. That shows there is good development and we have to take this opponent very seriously,” he said.
Weiss cited that Myanmar’s game relies on strong counter attacks and a heavy defensive line.
But the German coach said that Myanmar will be forced to change its strategy against the Azkals because it will be desperate to score goals.
“They will have to loosen up this strictly defensive mode and they will have to go for offensive action… So it will be interesting to see how they can switch from their normal style of play into tomorrow's game because tomorrow with counter-attack it will be difficult for them because they will have to score goals also.” -- With a report from TJ Manotoc, ABS-CBN