Azkals end 99-year wait for international crown


Denis Wolf of PHL scoring in this play off Chang Yung Hsien of Chinese Taipei, Rizal Football Field .AUGUST DELA CRUZ

The long wait for an international football title finally ended for the Philippines Saturday night amid a festive atmosphere at the historic Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

The Philippine Azkals broke through early to defeat Chinese Taipei, 3-1, and clinch the Paulino Alcantara Peace Cup title at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium, the country’s first international championship in 99 years.

Fil-German Dennis Wolf opened things up for the Philippines in the 10th minute.

OJ Porteria made it 3-nil after Chieffy Caligdong struck one in the 43rd minute.

Chinese Taipei pulled back in the 52nd after a miscommunication.

But that lone goal by Taiwan was the only one conceded by the Azkals, who dominated Macau, 5-0, last Thursday.

The Philippines took home the crown by going undefeated with nine points.


Wolf’s gang

The 29-year-old Wolf finished with four goals and emerged as the tournament’s top scorer and Most Valuable Player, while Eduard Sacapano and Jeff Christiaens were named best goalkeeper and best defender, respectively.

Matt Uy, who only arrived from the United States last week, excelled with his vision and composure and was adjudged best midfielder by the technical study group of the tournament.

Chinese Taipei, which finished second in the tournament, had a chance to score again on a penalty but Sacapano, the best keeper, timed the attempt perfectly in the 93rd minute.

No top stars

Making the win impressive though was the fact that the team played minus some of its top stars.

Europe-based players like first choice goalkeeper Neil Etheridge and midfield wizard Stephan Schrock had to fulfill commitments abroad.

The Azkals were also without the Younghusband brothers James and Phil, who were dropped from the team due to commitment issues.

Guam beats Macau

Earlier, Guam salvaged third place in the four-nation tournament with a comprehensive 3-0 victory over Macau.

Still, the title triumph was a confidence boost as coach Michael Weiss tried to build a winning mentality as the squad heads to the crucial stretch of its preparations for the AFF Suzuki Cup in Thailand in November.

Future stars emerge

The three goal-scorers actually represent different eras of Philippine football. Caligdong has been with the national side even when the country struggled for support, while Wolf joined the squad at the height of its popularity. Porteria, at 18, has been hailed as one of the future stars of the squad.

Not since the 1913 Far East Games has the Philippines won an international title. But Wolf put the Azkals on their way with a 10th minute strike after he pounced on a mad scramble inside the box caused by a Chieffy Caligdong corner kick.

Caligdong turned goal-scorer in the 34th minute, collecting a clearance from the Chinese-Taipei defender before firing low past the keeper.

The Azkals looked to have wrapped up the win when Porteria stole a lazy pass and finished calmly in the 43rd minute. But they had to absorb pressure from the Taiwanese in the second half.

There was controversy midway when the Taiwanese were denied of a penalty claim after a tackle by Demitrius Omphroy. The non-call did not sit well with Taiwan team officials who refused to leave the bench despite getting dismissed by the referee. That led to a 10-minute stoppage of play, but the Azkals stood resolute and their heroic defensive effort was highlighted by Sacapano’s penalty save in injury time.

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • sitsiritsit

    basta ako 1990 pa sa saudi arabia na nonood na ko ng mga football match … ang mahalaga sa akin meron akong pupustahan!  CONGRATS AZKALSSSSSSS sa mga may reklamo mag reklamo kayo sa korte o sa liga na nagpalaro sa kanila… basta ako panalo yahoooooooooooooo

  • loweh74

    mas maganda pa atang wala sa line up yung Younghusband brothers… may jinx ata sila.

    • sitsiritsit

      magagalit si angel sa sanabi mo hahahahahahaha 

  • rocky balboa

     Pst baka di mo alam, ang Presidente natin ay may lahing Chinese. Kahit mga tribo sa bundok ngayon, bumaba na sa patag at nahaluan na ang lahi

  • gorillAz88

    this win is more like bullying low-ranked teams.. tsk tsk

    • yellow_zombies

      It’s good that we progressed in this sport. A few years ago, we were the ones who were bullied by these teams. Hahaha!

  • gorillAz88

    this win is a joke.. that’s my opinion.. lower ranked-country are competing with Azkals that are not really a Philippine team.. I misses the time when Philippine teams are 100% Filipinos.. those half-half breeds should play on their much superior country.. I’m not proud if the win is not by 100% Filipino blood..

    • Joel Lorilla

      So… you’re like saying that, if Spain, the ranked number 1 in the world, played Brazil (Ranked 13) would be that considered bullying? 

      We’re just being happy about this success, we did not say this was a very huge achievement, but it’s a start and a confidence booster for the big one (AFF Suzuki Cup).

      And mind you, this is the first international title of the football team since 1913, and in Football and or in any sport, ang ranks, has little or nothing to do with the team…
      it all depends on the ability of the players of the team, they can either cause great upset or disappointment, kayo maglaro ng football ng makita nyo

      Yung mga country na nakasali sa world cup, nagcmula muna yan sa maliit bgo cla naging high-ranked teams, pucha, comment ng comment di muna nagiisip, kahit ano pa yan, syempre dapat magsimula sa maliit at dun magbbuild up yun.

      Problema kasi sa inyo, mga wala nmng alam sa kung anung klaseng sport ang football eh kayayabang, bkit malakas na ba kyo sa basketball? boxing? billiard?

      sir, eh kung sbihin ko sayu na makipag sapakan ka kay pacquiao? pag nagawa mo syang matalo hanga na ko sayo, and then you can throw what ever crap you have at me.

      A win is a WIN, regardless kung ano man at sino mang team ang nakalaban nten.

      Di na lng kayo matuwa at kahit papano nagdadala sila ng karangalan sa bansa.

    • yellow_zombies

      Please define 100% Filipino blood.

  • PHtaxpayer

    It’s a good start (after 2-3 years?) but what we really need to do is beat major football neighbors like Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia or Singapore in FIFA tournaments and raise our rankings.  Beating teams like Guam and Taipei are not that exciting.

  • holydonkeyballs

    Congrats Azkals!

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks



latest videos