Third round of Fifa qualifiers tall order for Azkals, admits Palami
Notwithstanding two early victories, Philippine Azkals manager Dan Palami admits that reaching the third round of the Asian zone of the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers remains a tall order.
The Azkals impressed in wins over Bahrain (2-1) and Yemen (2-0) last month, but trail North Korea on goal difference in Group H where Uzbekistan is also bracketed.
Only the top team in the group will be guaranteed a place in the next round, which will be made up of 12 teams. (The teams will also assure themselves of places in the Asian Cup in 2019 in the United Arab Emirates.) The four second-best team from the eight groups will also move into the next round.
“It’s a tall order for us to make the third round, especially with our group that includes some very strong teams,” said Palami. “But the team [Azkals] got off to a good start and the performance was also very satisfying, so it’s really promising.”
The Azkals return to action on Sept. 8 against the Uzbeks at Philippine Sports Stadium in Bulacan.
Coach Thomas Dooley hopes to have foreign-based talents like newcomers Luke Woodland, Stephan Palla, Iain Ramsay, and Kevin Ingreso and returnees Stephan Schrock, Neil Etheridge and Javier Patino back for the critical match.
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