THE Philippines goes for a bounce back victory when the Azkals battle Indonesia on Tuesday night in the second round FIFA World Cup 2026 Qualifiers and Asian Football Confederation Asian Cup Preliminary Joint Qualifiers at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Malate, Manila.
After yielding to world No. 94 Vietnam, 0-2, before 10,378 fans in the same venue last Friday, the Azkals’ German coach Hans Michael Weiss believes his players would come back stronger to finally secure a win in Group F.
“We are looking at Indonesia, everybody is fit heading into this game, we have to adjust as much as we can,” Weiss told the pre-match news conference on Monday, noting that he expects a “fierce battle” between the two Southeast Asian nations.
“Yes for sure it is going to be tough with both teams coming from a loss, so we expect a fiery battle since both of us are aiming for a win. It’s going to be a dogfight,” he added. “There’s a big pressure for sure so we have to be focused on our performance. We have to control our emotions as well.”
The Philippines (No. 138), Vietnam, Indonesia (145) and Iraq (68) are bracketed in Group F.
There are nine groups of four teams each in the qualifiers. The teams will play each other twice for a total of six matches in a home-and-away format until June next year.
The top two in each group will advance outright to the third round while the third and fourth placers will have to go through another qualification phase.
Indonesia is coming from a tough 1-5 beating at the hands of Iraq last week in Basra for three points.
Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge leads the 26-man national team that includes with veterans Manny and Mike Ott, Patrick Reichelt, Daisuke Sato, Kenshiro Daniels, Stephan Schrock, OJ Porteria, Patrick Philip Deyto, Kevin Hansen, Simone Rota, Carlos Martinez de Murga, Jefferson Tabinas, Christian Rontini, Santiago Publico, Jesse Curran, Dennis Villanueva, Pocholo Bugas, Audie Menzi, Oskari Kekkonen, Kevin Ingreso and naturalized player Bienvenido Marañon.
The Philippines will face Iraq on March 21 and 26 in a still to be determined venue and again Vietnam and Indonesia on June 6 and June 11, respectively.
End it…end it