By FRANCIS SANTIAGO
June 16, 2011, 11:14pm
MANILA, Philippines — The national football team showed none of the sluggishness against a Philippine club selection it played against two weeks ago when it routed a German team, 4-1, in a friendly match Wednesday night in Duren, Germany.
Filipino-British striker Phil Younghusband struck twice while his brother, James and Chieffy Caligdong scored one apiece as the Philippine Azkals frustrated the German side composed of fourth and fifth division players based Duren.
It was the kind of performance team manager Dan Palami had hoped for the Azkals, who looked a shadow of their potential when they were beaten by a local side before some 10,000 fans.
Palami vowed they will “train 10 times harder in Germany” to avoid a repeat of their 4-3 loss to the United Football League-selection, which exposed some defensive lapses in their formation.
“(The) team (is) slowly getting their act together... Good win against Duren selection tonight,” Palami said on his Twitter after the victory.
Ecstatic over the win, skipper Ally Borromeo said the team is getting into fighting form in time for its first-round qualifying match against Sri Lanka on June 29 in Colombo.
“(I’m) happy with the results today. Things are starting to fall into place,” Borromeo said also on his Twitter.
The second leg will be held on July 3 at the newly renovated Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, where a crowd of 18,000 are expected watch.
The Azkals, who arrived in Germany Sunday night, are expected to play their second of four friendly matches Friday against an Under-19 squad from Bern.
Meanwhile, Azkals coordinator Patrick Ace Bright said team officials are making sure the players know the lyrics of the Philippine anthem by heart. He said the team, a mix of local and Fil-foreign players mostly from Europe, will be divided into three groups for a singing contest on Saturday. The winning group bags 1,500 Euros (about P90,000).