BANGKOK—The euphoria of victory has long died down, but the impact is still felt up to now. Players and coaches involved with the national side always look back to Dec. 5, 2010 with fond memories.
The Azkals, playing against AFF Suzuki Cup defending champion Vietnam, sensationally pulled off an upset for the ages before a partisan crowd at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi that sparked the renaissance of football in the Philippines.
The 2-0 victory opened the floodgates for the Azkals, then coached by Simon McMenemy, and for football in the country, spurring unprecedented support for a sport that has long been in the doldrums.
Bring up the stunning win and the faces of players like Phil and James Younghusband and Chris Greatwich light up.
Also part of that side who are here in Bang-kok are Jason de Jong and Chieffy Caligdong.
“Every time we see the highlights, it felt like yesterday,” said Greatwich, who opened the scoring in the match with a 38th-minute header. “We’re just glad to have been part of that moment.”
“It’s unbelievable how far we’ve come since the win against Vietnam,” said Phil Younghusband, who wrapped up the victory 12 minutes from time despite suffering from the ill-effects of a stomach virus.
“To silence that crowd, to score those goals, it was just a great feeling to be a major part of our footballing history.”
Azkals manager Dan Palami, who played a major role in bankrolling the campaign, said he will forever treasure the day he made believers out of the Azkals, who have carried the momentum of that win to chalk up more achievements.
“We can always look back at that game in Hanoi with a lot of pride,” said Palami.