DUBAI—If it was his final match wearing the Philippines kit, then Stephan Schrock made sure it was a memorable one—even though it ended in defeat in the AFC Asian Cup here.
The 32-year-old Schrock made history by scoring the country’s first ever goal in the competition in the second half of a 3-1 defeat to Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday night at Rashid Stadium here.
But the dynamic midfielder later hinted at retirement from the national team after the Azkals bowed out in the most prestigious competition in the continent.
“I feel like that was my final game for the Azkals,” Schrock told the Inquirer on Thursday.
“I had it in my mind to retire from (the national team) after this tournament because I’m 32 and I feel the body gets more aged with every major tournament. We have another long season ahead with Ceres-Negros. We will hardly get a break. I have a family as well and I wanted to see them more often than in the past three months.”
When Schrock floated in a free kick inside the area late in the second half, he was hoping that a teammate will redirect it on target.
Instead, Kyrgyzstan goalkeeper Kuzman Kadyrbekov, worried that Azkals striker Javier Patino might be able to make contact on the delivery, misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing Schrock’s free kick to bounce inside the six-yard box and into the roof of the net.
There was hardly any celebration from the Azkals, who were already trailing, 3-nil, before Schrock’s strike, although the goal was greeted by a loud roar from the Filipino gallery.
“Today, I realized more how historic that goal was actually because yesterday I was only thinking about getting two more (goals),” said Schrock, who came out of international retirement a few months ago.
“If I could change it, I would rather win and have someone else score for the Philippines.”
DUBAI—Whether it’s financial support or emotional attachment, perhaps no other person has invested on the Philippines men’s national team in its quest for international glory than Dan Palami.
That’s why the long-time Azkals manager was also quick to take responsibility on the team’s inability to reach the knockout round of the AFC Asian Cup here.
The Azkals lost all three matches in their group against higher-ranked foes, but a strong performance in the 1-0 defeat South Korea and a first-ever goal by Stephan Schrock in the competition will be among the positives that can be taken away from their debut in the continental showpiece event.
“The thing for me as a manager, I felt that we had actually a chance to get out of the group,” Palami said. “Maybe there were some other things that the management or the coaching staff could have done in order for us to get out of it, but we have to accept the result.”
Palami has been bankrolling the squad’s campaign along with the Philippine Football Federation for close to a decade. And a first-ever appearance in the Asian Cup remains the biggest achievement for the country in the sport.
“We’re happy and privileged to be part of this tournament, but we want to make sure that this won’t be the last time we join this tournament,” Palami said. “Our Under-22, Under-23 and senior teams will progress even further in the coming years.”
Palami hired Swedish coach Sven-Goran Eriksson for the AFF Suzuki Cup and the Asian Cup, and the former England mentor managed to lead the Azkals to two wins, two draws and five defeats.
Football director Scott Cooper, who lacked the coaching badges to handle the squad in a major tournament like the Asian Cup but spearheaded the start of the preparations until Eriksson took charge, will remain with the team.
“Coach Sven’s engagement ends in this tournament,” Palami said. “Meanwhile, we have our football director Scott Cooper taking the reins in the senior team as well as preparing for Under-22 and Under-23 tournament. It is going to be exciting times in the next months.”
The Under-22 side will see action in the Southeast Asian Games that will be hosted by the Philippines late in the year, while the Azkals are set to join the next cycle of World Cup qualifying
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals ended their 2019 Asian Cup campaign after dropping their final group stage game against Kyrgyzstan, 3-1, as Vitalig Lux scored a hat-trick on Wednesday, January 16, at the Al Maktoum Stadium in Dubai.
But even if the Philippine men's football team crashed to the bottom of Group C, Stephan Schrock netted in Philippines' first ever Asian Cup goal in the 80th minute.
Kyrgyzstan is still on track of advancing to the Round of 16 after finishing third in the group.
In the 24th minute, Vitalig Lux sent the Nationals into the doldrums when his shot found the back of the net thanks to an assist from Akhlidin Israilov.
Lux scored his second goal and doubled the lead in the 51st minute with an angled finish from Bekzhan Sagynbaev's assist in the center of the box.
The Kyrgyzstan striker sealed the win with a hat-trick as he capitalized on a rebound off the post in the 77th minute.
The entry of the Younghusband brothers added more firepower to the Azkals as Javier Patiño and Patrick Reichelt had chances to cut the deficit towards the end of the match.
Kyrgyzstan had a strong start to the match as it held most of the possession as the Philippines' backline had an off-day.
In the first half, the Azkals never established a clear threat in the attacking third and was running out of ideas on how to create chances. – Rappler.com
The Philippine Men’s National Team may have had a forgettable outing against China PR last Friday, but the team still hopes to advance to the knockout stages of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
After a formidable display against Korea Republic in the first game, the Azkals were given a reality check on the toughness of the tournament after losing to China, 3-0.
“This is the Asian Cup. These are the best teams in Asia, the best players in Asia. They’re the difference between winning and losing a game when you’ve got quality like that,” said Phil Younghusband.
Head coach Sven Goran Eriksson remained steadfast on the team’s chances of qualifying despite losing their first two matches.
“We have shown that we can play football,” said Eriksson. “We are not going home yet, and we will see what happens in the last group stage game (vs Kyrgyz Republic).”
The Philippines currently sit at the bottom of Group C with only one match left in the group stages. A win over the Kyrgyz Republic on Wednesday 16 January 2019 at the Rashid Stadium might propel the team to the Round of 16 as one of the four best third placed teams at the end of the group stages.
“We still have the Kyrgyzstan game. If we can get the three points there, then we have every chance of qualifying to the next round,” added Younghusband.
“We really want to advance,” echoed Stephan Schröck. “We have to beat Kyrgyz Republic to have that chance.”
DUBAI—There is no guarantee that a victory in its last group match will be enough for the Philippines to reach the next round of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup.
But a strong finish can cap what has been a memorable debut so far for the Azkals here.
Currently in last place in Group C, the Azkals face Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday night at Rashid Stadium with both teams needing victories to stand a chance of progressing to the round of 16.
Making it to the next round as one of the top two teams in the group is already out of the equation for the Azkals, but qualifying as one of the four best third-placed squads is a scenario that is still alive.
The Azkals narrowly lost to South Korea, 0-1, in their opening match on Jan. 7, before falling to China, 0-3, at Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The match against China drew 16,000 fans, so far the most attended game in the tournament that did not involve host United Arab Emirates.
“The Kyrgyzstan match will be like a final for us,” said captain Stephan Schrock. “We have to finish with a really good performance, taking three points—and really hope for the best.”
The Philippines is one of eight winless countries in the tournament after all 24 teams have played their two matches. A draw will not be enough for both Kyrgyzstan and the Philippines to reach the next round.