Azkals remain number 1 in SEA
MANILA, Philippines – Despite a tough loss to Thailand in the semifinals of the AFF Suzuki Cup, the Azkals still remain the Southeast Asian (SEA) region’s top national football squad in the recent FIFA rankings.
The Philippine national booters dropped 2 places down the world ranks from 128 to 130 after suffering a heartbreaking 3-0 loss to the Thais in the semis of the AFF regional championships last December 10.
Consequently, Thailand and Malaysia, the teams who are still in the title race of the Suzuki Cup and SEA’s number 4 and 5 teams respectively, have moved up with the world ranks with the former now up two spots on the 142nd place and the latter moved a rank higher to 154th.
Vietnam still holds the region’s second place at 137th while Myanmar follows closely as AFF’s number 3 and world number 141.
The Azkals will be on a long break from national team duty as the next competition they are scheduled to play will be the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers that will start in 2015.
With the recent revamp of the format of the qualifiers for the world championship, the Azkals will have more chances of getting through as they are now bracketed to the new Southeast Asia zone of Asia’s East bracket.
With the new grouping in place, the Azkals are expected to host 4 home games in 2015 in line with the qualifiers for the World Cup. – Rappler.com