Thursday, 10 February 2011

Azkals 2 - 0 Blue Wolves

The Philippine football team, called the "Azkals", faced Mongolia's "Blue Wolves" yesterday for an Asian Football Cup (AFC) match and pulled off a 2 - nil victory. For a team that has been generally ignored by Filipinos for the longest time, victories such as these bode well for increasing the popularity and accessibility of football - "the beautiful game" - to the Filipino masses. Enjoy the highlights in this video by ABS-CBN:

The nice thing for me about this victory was how it was won. The Filipino team ran the Mongolians to the ground and generally just tired out the Wolves' defense, especially their very hard-working goalkeeper. Winning was not totally surprising, seeing as the Filipino team was on home grounds and were on a high since doing very well in the Suzuki Cup, reaching the semis. Still, the stellar Filipino offense really murdered the Mongolian defense, and should be a taste of things to come.

I cannot help but commend the first goal as absolutely brilliant. The ball control involved in bringing the football up and over and behind the last defender was an intelligent play, and made even better by a nice follow-up strike in between the 'keeper's legs. I think, however, that it wasn't really aimed there; the usual safe and smart shot would have been a low strike at that distance. Still, fantastic goal. The second goal, a bent shot around the Mongolian defense, was simply a display of precision and control. The shot actually reminded me of how Thierry Henry (former Arsenal striker) used to shoot back when he was in the English Premier League (EPL). Low, controlled, and has lots of bend. Good goals, both of them.

Good job Azkals, and keep on playing well! It's time for football to take over this country :D


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