Philippines' Azkals National Football Team Could handle Brave Reds

THE Philippine Azkals national football team may have lost their last two tune-up games against two professional teams in Germany, but coach Hans Michael Weiss remained upbeat about their chances of beating the Sri Lanka Brave Reds on Wednesday.

“Our team is ready despite two losses against strong German professional teams. The team is tired, but we will have them in good shape for Wednesday,” Weiss wrote in his Twitter account a day after the Azkals arrived at the capital city of Colombo in Sri Lanka.

The Azkals’ popularity, though, appeared to have no boundaries as they were mobbed by fans while they were training in Duren, Germany and upon their arrival in Sri Lanka.

The first of two games in the World Cup qualifying matches between the Philippines and Sri Lanka starts this Wednesday at the Brave Reds’ own homeground—the Sugathadasa Stadium.

The Azkals and the Red Braves then complete their series on Sunday, 3 p.m., at the football pitch of the Rizal Memorial Track and Field Stadium in Manila.

In their last two tuneup matches, the Azkals bowed to second division squad FC Ingolstdat, 0-4, on Friday, and was also blanked by third division team SV Darmstadt, 0-5, last Saturday.

Overall, the Azkals won two of four test games. They beat by the same margin of 4-1 the Aachen-Duren selection and the SC Bonner under-19 squad.

Weiss said the team will review game tapes of the Brave Reds in their group stage game against Myanmar in the recent 2011 Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup.

The Brave Reds have actually undergone some changes when Sri Lanka announced the new lineup last week, but Weiss said the Azkals will be ready for anything that their foes will bring into their match.

Wess said the tune-up games improved the cohesion of the squad, as he observed that players stayed focused and fought hard together during their two-week stay in Germany.

In their last two matches, the Azkals played without key defensive players Ray Jonsson, Stephan Schrock and Jerry Lucena, along with ailing team skipper Aly Borromeo.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka’s coach Jang Jung expects the Brave Reds to play even better after he made some changes in the line-up


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