[See the TERMINOLOGY section at the bottom of the page for words or phrases marked with an asterisk (*) after it]
The Azkals’ exit from the Suzuki Cup Finals also signal the official end of the Azkals’ 2012 season, as there are no more official FIFA International “A” games for the rest of December 2012. Time to take stock and see what the Azkals have achieved so far for the entire year of 2012, 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 December 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 am still hoping 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 3 tournaments in 2012: The AFC Challenge Cup, the Peace Cup, and last but not the least the Suzuki Cup. Here are the number of games they played for each tournament, and the countries they went up against:
– AFC Challenge Cup, 5 away games in Nepal against North Korea, India, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Palestine
– Peace Cup, 3 home games in Manila against Guam, Macau and Taiwan
– Suzuki Cup, 5 games total (4 away games in Thailand and Singapore, and 1 home game in Manila) against Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Singapore
They also played a total of 8 International Friendly games, and below is the summary of these games:
– International Friendly Home games, 4 games against Malaysia, Indonesia, Guam and Singapore
– International Friendly Away games, 4 games against Malaysia, Bahrain, Kuwait and Singapore
The Azkals played a total of 21 FIFA International A games games in the entire 2012 season, all under coach Michael Weiss. This is the most number of games they have played since 2010 when I first started tracking their games, and below is the summary of the total number of games:
– 2010, 11 games
– 2011, 14 games
– 2012, 21 games
The Win-Draw-Loss Summary for 2012 are as follows:
– Win, 11 (52%) against India, Tajikistan, Palestine, Guam 2x, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam, Myanmar and Singapore 2x
– Draw, 5 (24%) against Malaysia 2x, Indonesia, Bahrain and Singapore
– Loss, 5 (24%) against North Korea, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Thailand and Singapore
The team’s winning percentage for 2012 is at 52.38%. This is a big improvement compared to the team’s 2011 statistics, where Azkals won only 5 games and came up with a win percentage of 36%. We did have the same number of Draws in 2012 as we did in 2011 at 5. Our number of losses increased slightly from 4 in 2011 to 5 in 2012.
‘Home and Away Games’
The Azkals played 7 home games in 2012, winning 4 of them for a win rate of 57%, a far cry from the 75% at home we had in 2011. But then again, we were up against stronger teams this year. The good news is that we did NOT suffer a single loss at home this year, compared to the 1 loss we had at home in 2011. Below are the detailed Win-Draw-Loss data together with the countries we played against:
– Win, 4 (57%) against Guam 2x, Macau and Taiwan for a rate of
– Draw, 3 (43%) against Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore for a
The remaining 14 games by the Azkals were played on either neutral or hostile pitch, winning 7 for a win rate of only 50%. However, this is a big improvement over the 20% win rate (only 1 in 5 games) we had in away games in 2011. Below are the rest of the data for the away games in detail:
– Win, 7 (50%) against India, Taijikistan, Palestine, Singapore 2x, Vietnam and Myanmar.
– Draw, 2 (14%) against Malaysia and Bahrain
– Loss, 5 (36%) against North Korea, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Thailand and Singapore
So, we won less at home (from 75% to 57%), but won more in our away games (from 20% to 50%).
‘Against Stronger and Weaker Teams’
In 21 games, we played only 4 of those against “Stronger Teams“*, with the remaining 17 against “Weaker Teams“*. Against the stronger teams, our win rate was only at 25% or 1 in 4 games, which is an improvement to the 2011 data of 14% (1 in 7 games). Here is the rest of the data:
– Win, 1 (25%) against Taijikistan
– Draw, 2 (14%) against Malaysia and Bahrain
– Loss, 5 (36%) against North Korea, Turkmenistan, Kuwait, Thailand and Singapore
Against the weaker teams, we won 10 of 17 games for a win rate of 59%, a slight improvement to the 57% rate (4 in 7 games) we had in 2011. Below are the rest of the data:
– Win, 10 (59%) against India, Palestine, Guam 2x, Singapore 2x, Macau, Taiwan, Vietnam and Myanmar
– Draw, 4 (23%) against Malaysia, Indonesia, Bahrain and Singapore
– Loss, 3 (18%) against Turkmenistan, Thailand and Singapore
So we won more against stronger teams (from 14% to 25%), while maintaining our win rate against weaker teams (from 57% to 59%).
‘Goals For, and Goals Against’
Offensively, the Azkals scored 32 goals in 21 games in 2012, for an average of one and a half goals per game. In those 21 games, they managed to score on 16 games (76.19%), while failing to score only on five games or 23.81%. Here is a breakdown of the goals against opponents:
– Scored at least one goal: Malaysia, India, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Palestine, Indonesia, Guam (2x), Singapore (2x), Macau, Taiwan, Kuwait, Thailand, Vietnam and Myanmar.
– Did NOT scored a goal: North Korea, Malaysia, Bahrain, Singapore (2x)
Defensively, the Azkals gave up 17 goals in 21 games for an average of 0.81 goals per game. They managed to keep a clean sheet on 11 out of 21 games (52.32%), while allowing their opponents to score on the remaining 10 games (47.68%). Here is a breakdown of the goals against opponents:
– Opponent did not score a single goal: India, Malaysia, Guam (2x), Singapore (3x), Macau, Bahrain, Vietnam, Myanmar
– Opponent scored at least one game: Malaysia, North Korea, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Palestine, Indonesia, Taiwan, Kuwait, Thailand, Singapore
The stats show that the Azkals have decent offense and defense, scoring on 3/4 of their games while keepling a clean sheet on half of their games.
A record eleven different players scored at least one goal for the Azkals in 2012, up from the eight in 2011. Below is the list, and beside each name in bracket is the number of games each player played in the season:
– 10 goals: Phil Younghusband (16)
– 5 goals: Anghel Guirado (14), Denis Wolf (14)
– 3 goals: Chieffy Caligdong (19)
– 2 goals: Carli de Murga (17), Patrick Reichelt (12)
– 1 goal: Juani Guirado (15), James Younghusband (14), OJ Porteria (5), Marwin Angeles (17), Paul Mulders (15)
In term of the number of “Games Between Goals (GBG)“*, Phil Younghusband was the most efficient with 2 games between goals, followed by Anghel Guirado, who averaged 3.5 games between goals. For the second straight year, both of these guys topped the GBG statistics for the Azkals. Below is the complete list, with the GBG stat in bracket:
– Phil Younghusband (2.0)
– Anghel Guirado (3.5)
– Denis Wolf (4.7)
– OJ Porteria (5.0)
– Patrick Reichelt (6.0)
– Carli De Murga (8.5)
– Chieffy Caligdong (9.5)
– James Younghusband (14)
– Juani Guirado, Paul Mulders (15)
– Marwin Angeles (17)
Phil Younghusband is having his 2nd straight banner year, topping the scoring for the Azkals and also improving on his goal tally from 6 in 2011 to 10 in 2012, and even improving his GBG average from 2.8 in 2011 to 2.0 this year. PYH had an uneven year, though. He started the 1st half of the year like a house on fire, scoring 6 goals in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup on his way to winning the Golden Boot Award in the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup. He would score 1 more goal by June 2012, raising his tally to 7 by the 1st half of the year.
However, in the 2nd half of 2012 he got mired in controversies involving skipping practices and games, so much so that he was left out of the lineup for the Peace Cup. When he got reinstated, there was a notable dip in his performance. I had high hopes for PYH, I thought the 2012 Suzuki Cup would be his crowning achievement as one of the best Strikers in South East Asia, but he fell miserably flat on his face on that regard, scoring only one goal in the entire tournament and failing to help the Azkals move on to the Finals. He only has himself to blame for his woes, he spread himself too thin despite his already numerous and lucrative contracts, then sulking and failing to shine in the Suzuki Cup.
Chieffy Caligdong had a miserable year, scoring only 2 goals in 19 games for the Azkals, a huge dip to the 6 goals in 14 games he made in 2011. He also scored both goals in the 2nd half of 2012, with absolutely no goals to show for in the 1st half. Injuries have started to slow down the 30 year old Chieffy, and it is taking him longer to recuperate. Here’s hoping he will recover well in 2013.
Anghel Guirado was another player who had an uneven year. He was making up for Chieffy’s non-production of goals by making 4 in the 1st half of 2012, but then got involved in that Sexual Harassment complaint by Cristy Jalasco. As a result, he decided to leave the Philippines, staying both in Spain and India, enroute to missing a lot of the Azkals games. He ended up with only 1 goal in the 2nd half of 2012.
And yet another player in Denis Wolf had an uneven 2012. He scored only 1 goal in the 1st 6 months of 2012, but then scored 4 more in the final half of 2012, but mostly against weak teams in the Peace Cup, as he stayed invisible against the tougher teams in the Suzuki Cup.
And finally, seven different players opened their goal accounts for the Azkals in 2012, and these are Denis Wolf, Juani Guirado, Carli De Murga, Patrick Reichelt, OJ Porteria, Marwin Angeles and Paul Mulders. Of particular note is Patrick Reichelt, who missed the entire 1st half of 2012, and yet scored 2 goals in the final half of the year. Also Paul Mulders, who scored his first and only goal for the Azkals so far in 2 years of playing with them.
The Azkals had 4 active Goalkeepers from January to June 2012, including a stint by Carli De Murga as Goalkeeper. Here is the summary of the statistics per Goalkeeper:
– Eduard Sacapano, conceded 7 goals in 10 games (0.7 conceded goals average), 6 clean sheets in 10 games (60% clean sheet rate)
– Neil Etheridge, conceded 10 goals in 9 games (0.9 conceded goals average), 3 clean sheets in 9 games (30% clean sheet rate)
– Roland Mueller, conceded 0 goals in 3 games, 3 clean sheets in 3 games (100% clean sheet rate)
– Carli De Murga, conceded 0 goals, 1 clean sheet in 1 game (100% clean sheet rate)
If 2011 for me was the “Year of the Chieffy”, this year it is the “Year of EdSa”, where our Ed finally not only stood up, but jumped and somersaulted around from the shadows of Etheridge and Mueller. I heard somebody said that EdSa probably at one point just decided to play his game no matter what people say, and that focus has earned him as a clear favorite as the Starting GK for the Azkals. He definitely is more available than Etheridge or Mueller.
He conceded less goals than Neil, and had more clean sheets. One could argue that he was up against lesser opponents, but then again remember that EdSa played very well in the Suzuki Cup and in the 2 Singapore Friendlies. Now Neil can focus on his career in the EPL, and Mueller on his career in the Bundesliga’s lower divisions. EdSa is a bit undersized at GK, but makes up for it with his athleticism and quickness. And with his newfound focus, I am very glad to see him make it big with the Azkals.
Below is the summary of our FIFA Ranking for the entire 2012 season:
– Highest = 143
– Lowest = 157
– Average = 150
This is an improvement compared to 2011, where our highest was only at 151, lowest at 166 and average ranking of 158.
‘Azkals 2012 Performance Reflections’
2012 was a banner year for the Azkals, and here is a list of the achievements the team made this year:
– First time to finish 3rd place overall in the AFC Challenge Cup
– First time to win a trophy in Football in the Peace Cup
– First time to beat Singapore in 2 successive International Friendly Games
– First time to beat Myanmar in a FIFA tournament or game
– Entered the Suzuki Cup Semi Finals for the 2nd successive year
– First time to reach 143 in the FIFA rankings
Our winning percentage went up, and saw the rise of Ed “EdSa” Sacapano. Despite these achievements, though, there is a bit of a disappointment in that we failed to reach the Finals of the Suzuki Cup, which is the most prestigious tournament in South East Asia. Then again, if you look at it objectively, South East Asia will always be a very tough region because of the popularity of Football in all the countries, which bred highly lucrative leagues, which in turn breeds highly competitive players.
SEA easily is the much tougher team than, say, most of Asia, except probably for South Korea, North Korea, Japan and Australia. The rest of the Asian Football countries are basically at least slightly inferior compared to the powerhouse SEA countries, hence it would be a bit unrealistic for us to expect to rule SEA anytime soon, especially if you factor in the fact that our local league is nowhere near the multi-million dollar leagues of the other SEA countries. In fact, I am beginning to doubt that would happen within the next decade or so.
The next step for the Azkals would be a stint in the Suzuki Cup Finals, but we will have to wait another two years for that to happen …
* 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