Fans can watch the Philippines vs. North Korea soccer match live online and see if the Azkals can fend off a North Korean team out to a strong start in World Cup qualifying.
The teams will meet Thursday at Kim Il-Sung stadium in Pyongyang, with the match starting at 3:30 p.m. Philippines time.
It will not be an easy task for the Philippines. The North Korean squad has won all three of its World Cup qualifying matches so far, with a total of nine points, while the Azkals team are third in Group H.
As the Inquirer noted, this is part of the most difficult stretch for the Philippines soccer team.
When the draw was made last April, the two away games – against North Korea on Thursday and Bahrain on Oct. 13 – were easily identified as the toughest considering the travel that the team would have to go through before playing the two matches.
But to win the game, the Azkals must overcome a 5-1 loss at the hands of Uzbekistan on September 8. And they also must move past a difficult build-up, with the team only coming together a few days before departing for North Korea via Beijing.
“First we’re playing an away match. Second, North Korea, when they support any national team, you get an entire nation watching. That’s going to be the environment. Third, which is our perennial concern, is the buildup of the team. We get our players three, four days before the competition so these factors will affect us so much,” said PFF technical director Aris Caslib said (via Phil Star).
“The team must concentrate on at least achieving one point (draw), that’s the most important thing right now and to deliver one point – a draw in the game – will really push us again in good standing in the WCQ,” he added.
Caslib said the team needs to do better on direct balls, which was a weak point in the blowout loss to Uzbekistan.
“We have to address the way Uzbekistan scored against us and the way North Korea plays. When we watched North Korea play against top-flight teams, they play direct ball,” he said. “And that’s how Uzbekistan scored a lot of goals against us. So direct balls must be addressed by our backline. It’s not only having five defenders but it’s how they will work together in dealing with that. And the upfront players must stop those direct balls.”
But it could be difficult to suffer the same kind of defeat against the North Korean team. In the loss to Uzbekistan, the Azkals suffered breakdowns on defense and sloppy play on offense, with players making a number of individual mistakes. It was also an incredibly strong performance from Uzbekistan.
Fans who watch the Philippines vs. North Korea soccer match live online could see an Azkals team that has already putt the loss behind them. The team didn’t take long to dwell on the loss, and Caslib said the players mostly returned to their European teams without much talk about the dismantling, so they could enter the North Korea matchups with clear minds.
Philippines player Jerry Lucena said be believes the team is up for the task.
“It’s in their homefield and they will be pushing with everything they’ve got,” said Lucena (via Inquirer).
“We have to stand still and believe in ourselves and every player must step up.”
Experts believe it may take more than that for the Philippines to win the match, including a poor showing from the home team.
Fans who want to watch the Philippines vs. North Korea soccer match live online can click here for streaming video links.
[Image via Kevin Lee/Getty Images, YouTube]