Azkals vs. Cambodia Angkor Warriors, September 5, 2012

September 5, 2012 at the Cambodia National Stadium in Phnom Penh, for the Azkals’ International Friendly Game against the Cambodia Angkor Warriors: The Azkals draw with the Angkor Warriors, 0-0.

Starting XI: Goalkeeper – Neil Etheridge; Defenders – Jeffrey Christaens, Carli De Murga, Jason Sabio, Rob Gier; Midfielders – James Younghusband, Jerry Lucena, Marwin Angeles, Chieffy Caligdong; Forwards – Phil Younghusband, Paul Mulders

Substitutes: Jason De Jong, Patrick Reichelt, Dennis Wolf, Anto Gonzales, Misagh Bahadoran, OJ Porteria

‘Game Summary’
Cambodia is ranked forty places lower than us, and they haven’t played a FIFA International game in 14 months, so this was supposed to be an “easy” game for us. In fact, it was supposed to be a good tuneup game before going against the tough Singapore National Team. And yet the Cambodians looked quite competitive out there, making some good runs in the first half, and some dangerous chances in the Second Half.

The Azkals looked out of sync, and partly that could be due to the poor condition of the pitch as per the TV Announcers. However, I am not buying that reason. They had at least half a dozen really good chances, but muffed their finishing each and every time.

The only good thing I saw in this game was the fact that Weiss used an amazing six substitutions, allowing the younger players like Reichelt and Porteria some playing time in a major FIFA International game.

Overall, the Azkals had the better attempts, MUCH better attempts. But in the end, Football is about scoring goals, and not making Shots on Target, or getting Majority Ball Possession. If you can’t score a goal, then scratch that performance as “mediocre”, especially against a supposedly weaker opponent.

‘Individual Performances’
Paul Mulders is fast becoming my favorite Azkals player. He is not that fast, and his finishing is poor, but by God his passing is definitely World Class. I counted at least three good passes which put his teammates in good scoring position which unfortunately they were unable to finish. Also, if you notice, he is the most CONSISTENT European-based player to play with the Azkals. He always seems to be there for a major International game.

I had great hopes for Patrick Reichelt after that stunning debut he had with Global FC, but after seeing him flub four good scoring attempts, I am beginning to have my doubts. He even made the stupid mistake of passing off when he had a clear one on one with the Goalkeeper. Is he another Dennis Wolf, a good player pushing the ball up, but atrocious with his finishing? Only time will tell, but this is not a good start for him.

Phil Younghusband was off, he was in two good scoring opportunities, but flubbed both. I suspect PYH is off-form, having not played competitive (i.e., non-Clear Dream match exhibition games) Football in two months. He isn’t as sharp as he was anymore unlike during the AFC Challenge Cup, where he had 2-3 months worth of sharpening his skills in the UFL.

The others were basically mediocre, just like the result.

‘Parting Shot’
Another South East Asian opponent, and another shitty game by the Azkals. The PFF and company has to realize that we have not beaten a South East Asian team since 2010. Two long years, and zero wins over a SEA team. To me, that OFFICIALLY makes our win against Vietnam as a FLUKE.

The Azkals Nuthuggers probably won’t like it, but I am not going to mince words to deny the obvious. We can’t all be hugging the Azkal’s nuts all the time, or else we would be nurturing and praising mediocrity.

We got lucky over Vietnam, and one wonders if we are ever going to be that lucky again against a MAJOR South East Asian team.

A vast majority of our Azkals are now Fil-Foreigners who honed their skills in more Football-crazy nations. However, as the results against the South East Asian teams show, it doesn’t seem to be enough of an advantage to offset the individual abilities of the players from the South East Asian countries who are Football-crazy, and whose players were rooted out thru “Survival of the Fittest” in a very tough and competitive environment.

We have achieved some sort of uneasy PARITY with South East Asian countries using our Fil-Fors, but it might take DECADES, or even GENERATIONS to overhaul or rise up above them. They patronize Football more than we do, and that in essence makes them very competitive in the sport.

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