This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.
MANILA, Philippines – Even after a “tactically smart” showing, the Philippine men’s football team only wound up with a loss and a draw in the second round of the FIFA World Cup 2026 and AFC Asian Cup 2027 joint qualifiers this November.
But national team head coach Hans Michael Weiss urged the Azkals to just move forward and focus on the buildup for the next qualifying window in 2024.
“Overall, as much as I’m disappointed, I’m very happy also because the boys gave everything, they played tactically smart,” said Weiss.
“As long as the whole group was fit and the whole group worked together, it was top. But yeah, it’s not only sunshine, we also look in the mirror and say, ‘what do we have to do better?’”
The Azkals played their first two qualifying matches at home, but failed to grab a victory as they tumbled down to third place in Group F with just 1 point out of a possible 6, and a -2 goal difference.
An opening-day loss to world No. 94 Vietnam, 2-0, last November 16 got followed by a disappointing stalemate versus Indonesia, 1-1, on November 21, where the Azkals allowed the Indonesians to comeback from a 0-1 deficit at halftime.
“Sometimes you don’t get what you want, you can put a lot of effort in it, then you don’t get it. It’s kind of a little bit frustrating, but we move on,” said Weiss.
“We have to make the next steps and get the right conclusions and then move forward.”
The Azkals’ next chance to grab a win is in March 2024 as they challenge world No. 68 Iraq, where they play each other in two consecutive games in a home-and-away format.
With the next international window still four months away, Weiss said some players will go back to their club teams, while the others plan to get some rest.
But he hopes that everyone doesn’t “get too loose” as he wants them to arrive match fit in the next training camp.
“The preparations is… looking for new players who are willing to compete as the ones we have now, we have bigger competition in the group,” said Weiss.
“We can change, maybe better players to come in, this must be the next steps, there’s no question about it.”
The Azkals rank third in Group F, while Iraq remains on top with 6 points and a +5 goal difference.
Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the third round of the joint qualifiers, while the third- and fourth-placed teams will need to go through an extra qualification phase just to claim a spot in the next round. – Rappler.com