MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Azkals will play against Sri Lanka in the first round of the Asian qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
This was announced in a draw held at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) headquarters in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Wednesday.
The home-and-away qualifying series will take place on June 29 in Sri Lanka and July 3 in the Philippines.
The Philippine Azkals team is currently ranked No. 151 in the FIFA world standings.
Sri Lanka, on the other hand, is ranked No. 173.
The Azkals’ qualifying match against Sri Lanka is the first of 4 qualifying rounds the Philippines will have to go through before landing a spot in the prestigious World Cup.
If the Azkals successfully hurdle the Sri Lankan team, they will next face Kuwait, which is ranked 103rd.
The reigning World Cup champion is Spain.
The Philippines recently qualified for the 2012 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Challenge Cup tournament proper via their successful stint in the group stage.
Azkals team manager Dan Palami said German coach Hans Michael Weiss will make sure that the Filipino squad will be fully prepared when they take on the Sri Lankans.
“We will prepare for Sri Lanka like they were Spain,” Palami told ABS-CBN’s Dyan Castillejo.
Sport analyst Christian Soler said in his Twitter account that Sri Lanka has an impressive record in the Challenge Cup.
“Sri Lanka has an impressive Challenge Cup resumé, finishing runners-up in 2006 and qualifying in 2008 and 2010,” he said.
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