Azkals foes bolster their buildup
The Philippines’ opponents in the AFC Asian Cup are already stepping up their buildup for the continental tournament with training camps and friendly matches against top caliber sides before the end of the year.
The Azkals, meanwhile, are on a two-week break following a gruelling AFF Suzuki Cup campaign that ended in a semifinal defeat to Vietnam on Dec. 6.
“There’s a high level of commitment required if we are to succeed at Asian and World Cup level,” said Azkals manager Dan Palami, referring to the preparations of other teams in Group D for the tournament at United Arab Emirates. “It takes a lot of sacrifices.”
The Azkals, who are slated to arrive in Doha, Qatar, on Dec. 27 for training camp, only have one friendly match remaining in their schedule as they face Vietnam on New Year’s eve in Doha.
The Vietnamese beat the Azkals in their last two meetings in the AFF Suzuki Cup semifinals recently both via 2-1 scorelines.
Korea, which lost to Australia in the finals of the tournament in 2015, just wrapped up training camp in Ulsan with Portuguese coach Paulo Bento’s side set to fly to the United Arab Emirates on Saturday.
China also revs up its preparation as coach Marcello Lippi’s side was due in Qatar last Wednesday.
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