Azkals to face Nepal, Taiwan in tune-up matches at Rizal Memorial Stadium in June
CEBU CITY, Philippines— The Philippine men’s football team or Philippine Azkals will have fitting tune-up matches ahead of their FIFA World Cup/AFC Asian Cup joint preliminary qualifiers later this year.
The Azkals will go up against Nepal and Taiwan in back-to-back friendly matches at the Rizal Memorial Stadium next month.
They will face Nepal first on June 15 followed by Chinese-Taipei on June 19, at the same venue.
The FIFA ranked No. 136 Philippine Azkals aims to bolster their preparation for the FIFA World Cup/AFC Asian Cup qualifiers with these back-to-back friendlies.
Nepal is currently ranked 174 in the latest FIFA world rankings, while Chinese Taipei is at the No. 156.
These back-to-back friendlies were announced by PFF president Mariano Araneta earlier this week.
It can be recalled that the Azkals also had two friendly matches last March in the Middle East. They went up against Kuwait and Jordan where they lost both matches.
On paper, the Philippines has the upper hand against the Nepalese squad. They’ve beaten Nepal four times in their six matches from 1982 to 2017.
One of these was a match in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in 2017 where the Philippines won, 4-0. Nepal’s lone victory against the Azkals was in 1982, 1-0 during the King’s Cup.
Their last match which was also part of the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers in 2017 ended in a 0-0 draw.
Meanwhile, the last time the Azkals faced Chinese Taipei was in 2017 during the CTFA International Tournament that was hosted by the latter in Taipei City.
The final line-up of the Azkals for the back-to-back friendlies is yet to be announced.
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