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Azkals clash with tough Vietnamese

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PFF Azkals head coach Hans Michael Weiss believes that playing in front of the home crowd will give them a big boost against Vietnam in tonight’s clash in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

Game today:

(Rizal Memorial Football Stadium)

7 p.m. — Philippines vs Vietnam


Armed with a two-week training camp in Bahrain, the Philippine Azkals meet Vietnam to kick off the second round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium.

Apart from the Vietnamese, the Philippines is in Group F in the qualifiers along with Indonesia and Iraq.

The top two finishers of the group will move on to the next round and will also earn an outright berth for the 2027 Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup in Saudi Arabia.

In Bahrain last month, the Philippines scrimmaged with the home squad and Kyrgyzstan.

Head coach Hans Michael Weiss feels playing on home soil will be pivotal in the bid to thwart the fancied Vietnamese.

“This is now D-Day for us. As far as the results go, we are lucky to have Vietnam and Indonesia (on 21 November) on our turf, which is uncomfortable to play in not only for us but also for the opponent. We want to take advantage of that,” the German tactician said.

“I want to see results. Vietnam is coming in as a heavy favorite. Hopefully, if they want to beat us, they will have to give everything. We are good technically but we need to have more brutality, particularly against Vietnam.”

Team captain and goalkeeper Niel Etheridge will lead the team with midfielder Stephan Schrock suiting up once more to shore up the Philippines’ bid to advance into the next round.

Defenders Simone Rota, Carlie De Murga, Jeff Tabinas, Christian Rontini, Jesse Curran, Daisuke Sato, and Santi Rublico are also expected to join as well along with midfielders such as Dennis Villanueva, Simen Lyngbo, Cholo Bugas, OJ Porteria, Manny and Mike Ott, Oskari Kekkonen and Kevin Ingreso.

Forwards Patrick Reichelt and Bienve Maranon are expected to give the Philippines the much-needed firepower in front of the goal.

In light of this, the Philippine Football Federation is launching the “Stand Your Ground: 10K Strong!” program to encourage fans to flock to the stadium and support the national team.”


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