[See the TERMINOLOGY section at the bottom of the page for words or phrases marked with an asterisk (*) after it]
The year 2012 is halfway thru, and the Azkals have played their last official FIFA game for June 2012. Time to take stock and see what the Azkals have achieved so far, and also take a look at some of their stats.
Below are some of the stats I have gathered for the Azkals games from January to June 2012. These stats cover only the FIFA-sanctioned tournament games and international friendlies, and does not cover international or local exhibition or practice matches.
They are also definitely not complete, as these are only gathered from news accounts, internet columns, etc. as I followed the team thru the season. I do hope that the Azkals release an official summary of the season, with more accurate official statistics, so we can study their performance better.
‘Tournaments and Games’
The Azkals played in only one tournament thus far, the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in 2012. They played five games in that tournament, all away games in Nepal. They played against North Korea, India, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Palestine in that tournament.
They also played a total of four Friendly games, three at home (against Malaysia, Indonesia and Guam), and one away (against Malaysia).
The Azkals played a total of nine games in the first half of 2012, all under coach Michael Weiss. Of these, the team won four times (India, Tajikistan, Palestine and Guam), drew thrice (Malaysia twice, and Indonesia), and came up with two losses (North Korea and Turkmenistan).
The team’s winning percentage so far is at 44.44%. This is an improvement to the team’s 2011 statistics, where Azkals won five and with a win percentage of 36%. Our three draws is an improvement over the 2011 Stats, where we had five draws. We lost four times in 2011, while we only lost twice up to June 2012.
We could only win one of our three home games for a win rate of 33% at home, a far cry from the 75% win rate at home we had in 2011. But then again, we were up against stronger teams in Malaysia and Indonesia.
For our away games, we won three of six games for a pretty good 50% win rate, a big improvement to the 20% win rate (only one in five games) we had in 2011 for away games.
The Azkals scored 15 goals on nine games, with an average of 1.67 goals per game, while giving up 11 goals, averaging 1.22 per game. Compared to 2011, our offense slightly improved (from 1.57 to 1.67), while our defense worsened (from only 1.0 to 1.22) slightly. But again, we were up against stronger teams.
‘Against Stronger and Weaker Teams’
In nine games, we played only three of those against “Stronger Teams“*, with the remaining six against “Weaker Teams“*.
The stronger teams were Malaysia, North Korea and Tajikistan. The weaker teams were India, Turkmenistan, Palestine, Malaysia, Indonesia and Guam. Note that Malaysia was “stronger” as per the FIFA rankings when we first met them early this year, but later got “weaker” when we faced them again in June 2012.
Against the stronger teams, we won only once (against Tajikistan) in three games, for a win rate of only 33%. We lost once (against North Korea), and drew once (against Malaysia). We actually improved our performance against stronger teams compared to 2011, where we had a Win-Draw-Loss record of 1-3-3. Of course, we faced more stronger teams then, but then again, we were also ranked lower then.
Against the weaker teams, we won thrice (India, Palestine, Guam) in six games, for a win rate of 50%. We drew twice (Malaysia, Indonesia), and lost once (Turkmenistan). Compared to 2011, our performance against weaker teams went down a bit as our Win-Draw-Loss then was 4-2-1.
Six Azkals scored at least a goal in first half of 2012. Below are the list, and beside each name in bracket are the number of games they played for the season:
– 7 goals: Phil Younghusband (8)
– 4 goals: Angel Guirado (8)
– 1 goal: Denis Wolf (4), Juani Guirado (7), Carli De Murgia (9), James Younghusband (7)
In term of the number of “Games Between Goals (GBG)“*, Phil Younghusband was the most efficient with 1.6 games between goals, followed by Anghel Guirado, who averaged 2.7 games between goals. Below is the complete list, with the GBG stat in bracket:
– Phil Younghusband (1.6)
– Anghel Guirado (2.7)
– Denis Wolf (4)
– Juani Guirado (7)
– James Younghusband (7)
– Carli De Murga (9)
Phil Younghusband is having another banner year this year as he had already exceeded his total goals of six in 2011 with seven goals so far, and we’re only halfway thru the year. On top of that, he managed to win the Golden Boot Award in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. I think the main reason PYH’s great performance this year is his participation in the UFL. Before that, there were long stretches of weeks or even months when PYH did not participate in any top level competition, hence he came into the tournaments a bit rusty. But with the UFL, PYH has managed to maintain his fine form most of the time before the actual tournaments started. It also probably helps that he has a gorgeous “Angel” (Locsin) now looking after him.
The big letdown is Chieffy Caligdong. After scoring six goals and winning the Golden Boot Award in the Long Teng Cup in 2011, Chieffy has not scored a single goal in the first six months of 2012. I think this is mainly to the the various injuries that he had suffered from late 2011 up to most of 2012. I’m hoping Chieffy will be able to bounce back in the second half of 2012.
Making up for Chieffy’s non-production of goals is Anghel Guirado, who is also having a banner year for the Azkals. After scoring three goals in 2011, Anghel has already surpassed that with four goals midway thru 2012. I’m hoping Anghel will stay healthy the rest of the year and continue to make up for Chieffy’s absence. The Azkals badly need his scoring support.
James Younghusband has been up to par with his performance, scoring one goal for the Azkals up to June 2012 compared to the three goals he made in 2011. But JYH not only contributes in scoring, more importantly he has helped set up a couple of the goals that the Azkals made so far. If only Football tracked Assists as closely as Basketball, I am sure JYH will be one of the top or THE top Assist man for the Azkals.
Finally, THREE Azkals opened their goal accounts for the Azkals in the first half of 2012, and these are Denis Wolf, Juani Guirado and Carli De Murga. Of these three, Denis is the most efficient in that he only averaged four games between goals. Juani and Carli play mostly defense chores, and the fact that they have scored for the Azkals is a bonus, giving the Azkals a lot of flexibility.
The Azkals had four active Goalkeepers from January to June 2012, including a strange stint by Carli De Murga. As usual, the Azkals’ main Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge played the most games with seven, followed by Roland Mueller with two, and finally Eduard Sacapano and Carli De Murga with one each.
Under Neil Etheridge, the Azkals won or drew five times in seven games. Neil also had a “Clean Slate“* twice for a rate of 28%, and conceded eight goals in seven games for an average of just over one goal per game. Compared to 2011, Neil’s numbers has worsened a bit in that in 2011, he had a 50% clean slate rate, and conceded an average of under a goal per game.
With Roland Mueller, on the other hand, the Azkals drew twice in two games. He also had a clean slate for both games, for a 100% rate, and conceded no goals in those games. Compared to 2011, his numbers have definitely improved, as back then he had a 66% clean slate rate and conceded on average one goal per game.
(Note: Neil and Roland played together in one game against Indonesia, with Roland playing in the first half, while Neil played in the second half.)
Like in 2011, Roland’s numbers look better than Neil’s, but in fairness to Neil, Roland hasn’t played as much games as Neil, and definitely Neil was up against better teams than Roland.
Eduard Sacapano played only on a single game for the Azkals, and in that single game, the Azkals won, but he also conceded three goals. His performance actually worsened compared to 2011, where he also played only one game, but conceded two goals. I have a lot of respect for Eduard, but I would like to see other local Goalkeepers like Ref Cuaresma and Patrick Deyto also given a chance to play in a main Azkals game.
And then there’s Carli De Murga. Carli was forced to play Goalkeeper in the game against Turkmenistan when Neil was thrown out of the Pitch and Weiss had already used up all of his substitutions. He only played a couple of minutes, but did manage to have a clean slate against a strong team, blocking at least two shots in that game.
I am introducing a new section related to FIFA Ranking in this installment of the Azkals Statistics. For the first half of 2012, below is the summary of our FIFA Ranking:
– Highest = 148
– Lowest = 157
– Average = 152
This is an improvement compared to 2011, where our highest was only at 151, lowest at 166 and average ranking of 158.
‘Azkals 2012 First Half Reflections’
Our overall Win-Draw-Loss record improved, and the Azkals finally got a trophy as I had hoped for in 2011 with that historic third place finish in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. But I felt their performance in the Friendlies was a bit disappointing, winning only one of four games, while drawing the other three. Then again, it seems to me that Weiss uses these Friendlies more as a venue for experimentation, hence winning is not the top priority.
He always seems to be saving the best player combinations, tactics and strategies for the tournaments, while letting the other Azkals play more and trying to give the Younghusbands less roles to play in these Friendlies. I think this is a good strategy, no matter how less “fan-friendly” it may be. We really need to win more in the tournaments, and find better support for the Younghusbands, who have been dominating the Azkals offense.
The second half of 2012 promises to be more exciting, with the Azkals planning trips to the US, Bahrain and Japan, and holding the Long Teng Cup in Bacolod before finally going for the main prize at the end of 2012, the Suzuki Cup. I hope PYH and Anghel continue their good form, and that Chieffy finally gets back into the groove. Looking forward to the rest of the year of Philippine Football.
* Stronger Teams = Teams with a higher FIFA ranking than the Azkals at the time the game was held
* Weaker Teams = Teams with a lower FIFA ranking than the Azkals at the time the game was held
* Games Between Goals (GBG) = Number of games the player had at least one goal in the game. Formula used is: (Total number of goals) divided by (Total number of games with goals)
* Clean Slate = No goals scored against the player or team