This might be an international friendly but it is the home game that we never had during the 2010 Suzuki Cup.
The Philippine Men’s Football National Team takes on their counterparts from Indonesia on Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at the Rizal Memorial Football Stadium at 7:00 p.m.
Indonesia, or Merah Putih (“The Red and White”) as they are nicknamed, beat the Azkals by the aggregate score of 2-0 in a pair of semifinal legs of the 2010 Suzuki Cup. The Philippine team was supposed to play the home match of that home-and-away series in Panaad, Bacolod, but because of inadequate facilities, the match was played at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Azkals were in the midst of a stirring run that saw them place second in Group B play with one win and two draws. The win, a 2-0 shocker, was against host team Vietnam, and the win, an upset of epic proportions that it made Sports Illustrated’s list of top football matches of the year, ignited the popularity of football in the Philippines that remains stronger than ever.
The Philippines played a strong Indonesia side captained by Bambang Pamungkas that was backstopped by Indo-Dutch Irfan Bachdim and naturalized Uruguayan Cristian Gonzales who scored both goals against the Azkals.
The semifinals finish was the best ever by the Philippines in the 14-year history of the biennial Southeast Asian football tournament. Indonesia lost in the finals to Malaysia by an aggregate score of 4-2.
The Philippines are expected to be in full force with players like Neil Etheridge and Stephan Shrock available due to the end of the European football season. Based on their 2014 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, Indonesia could field a different lineup with goalkeeper Samsidar as captain. Irfan could possibly be the only one from the 2010 Suzuki Cup team who could be in uniform on June 5 as new coach Nil Maizar has opted to go with a more youthful lineup.
Indonesia is currently ranked #151 by FIFA while the Philippines is at its highest ranking of #148 as of April 2012. This match might possibly be the only one the two teams could play this year as Indonesia faced the specter of suspension by FIFA due to government interference in the affairs of Persatuan Sepak Bolah Seleruh (PSSI), Indonesia’s equivalent of the Philippine Football Federation. FIFA has given the national sports association until June 15 to settle its internal problems or face suspension in all sanctioned matches.
Tickets to the June 5 match will be available beginning Friday, May 4, 2012 at all Ticketworld branches. Ticketworld branches can be found in National Bookstore, Robinsons Department Store, Ayala Malls, Trinoma, CCP Box Office, Music Museum, Teatrino Promenade, Eastwood Mall, Resorts World Manila, or the Ticketworld head office in the Madrigal Building along Ayala Avenue, Makati City.
Tickets are priced at Php 2500, 1000, 750, 300, and 150.