The Philippine National Men’s Football Team will face one of their toughest opponent in the Group stage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Round against Middle East powerhouse team, Bahrain. The Azkals vs. Bahrain football game will kickoff at around 8:00 PM at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
See Also: Azkals vs. Bahrain Live Coverage
Here’s our Match Preview of the Azkals vs. Bahrain Game:
The Azkals vs. Bahrain match is not only for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying but it will also determine the standings of the Philippines in the 2019 Asian Cup Qualifying Rounds. The Philippines is bracketed with probably the toughest group which includes powerhouse Uzbekistan, Yemen and North Korea.
Veteran footballer Phil Younghusband will lead his team, he is considered as the country’s top goal scorer with a total of 42 goals from 70 international matches. He believes that a winning start is important for the Azkals who will be playing with some new faces on their team.
The Azkals will face, Bahrain at the 20,000-seater Philippine Sports Stadium, the team which is considered as one of the toughest on their group, being ranked 30 places above the Philippines in the FIFA Rankings at 107.
The Philippine Azkals will start their nine-month qualifying process that will take the team to the Middle East, Central Asia and into one of the most mysterious cities in the world, Pyongyang, in North Korea.
In tonight’s game of the Philippine Azkals, the team will parade newcomers but veteran footballers like Iain Ramsay, Luke Woodland, Kevin Ingreso and Stephan Palla.
Aside from the newcomers, the team will also showcase returning players such as Stephan Schrock and Javier Patino, two of the most popular players in the country today, although they were both playing in international leagues. Patino played for the Chinese top flight while Stephan Schrock showcased his skills in Germany’s second tier league.
The Azkals opponent tonight, the Bahrain national football team, has never qualified for the World Cup but the team has proven its pedigree in the tournament. Bahrain came close to reaching the FIFA World Cup Finals but lost against Trinidad and Tobago in 2006 and against New Zealand in 2010.
Probable Azkals starting XI:
DF: Lucena, Woodland, Sato
MF: Rota, Ott, Younghusband, Steuble
FW: Schrock, Patino, Ramsay