Thursday, June 6, 2024

Philippines set for WCQACQ duel vs Vietnam

c/o the PMNFT

The Philippine Men’s National Football Team (PMNFT) returns to action in the FIFA 2026 World Cup Asian Qualifiers on Thursday night, June 6, when they face Vietnam at the My Dinh Stadium in Hanoi.

We are well prepared. We made changes, with some new players,” said Head Coach Tom Saintfiet. “The Philippines and Vietnam have played 21 times, and Vietnam have won 18. We’ve won only twice, with the last one in 2012. Sure, Vietnam is the favorite, but we come here trying to get the three points. That’s the intention, even if we know it’ll be difficult.”

The PMNFT will feature 10 changes to the squad that was last assembled in March, with six players set to potentially make their debut for the Philippines. The team enter Thursday’s contest on the back of a training camp which began in Dubai on May 26. Having had extra time to prepare, 24-year-old Christian Rontini has confidence the team can step up to the challenge of facing a South East Asian giant in front of 40,000 of their fans.

We’re playing in a World Cup Qualifier and we have no doubts, we are full of motivation. With Coach Tom in the last 10 days, our team has prepared well. With the new faces and the younger generation also now part of the senior team, we don’t have any excuses tomorrow — it’s a final. We are playing for the qualification and I’m very happy and excited to give everything for my nation, and hopefully we get the best from this game,” said Rontini.

Although the Philippines currently sit in last place in Group F with only a solitary point, a glimmer of hope remains that the team can still qualify into the next round of the World Cup Asian Qualifiers. There is, however, no margin for error, with maximum points required in the last two games. Vietnam will take confidence from their 2-0 victory at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in November last year, but the two sides will be different this time around, with the head coach of both teams only recently being appointed.

Vietnam is a strong team in Asia, and one of the best in South East Asia. I love the style of Vietnamese football - speed, skills, combinations,” he said, “We know that maybe he’s (Kim Sang-sik) a little bit different - more defensive and organized coach - but we don’t know. Will he implement his style or implement the style of the past? For us, we know how Vietnam of the past played, and we know the qualities of the new coach, but it’s difficult to say what will happen.”

Kickoff of the match will be at 8pm PH Time. The game will be aired on One Sports, One Sports+, Pilipinas Live, and will be streamed live on the Facebook page of the Philippine Men’s National Football Team.

For tomorrow, expect a very intense and exciting game,” said Rontini. “We know they have very good qualities in terms of speed and technique. But we also have our speed and our heart to play for our nation. Tomorrow will be a 50-50 game. I know people think that Vietnam is strong and everything, but we will put in our work. We will give everything from the first minute until the final whistle. We don’t play for a draw or for a loss, we play only to win. That’s it.”

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