Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beating Vietnam again. How sweet it is


I DON'T know. Maybe. Perhaps. Siguro.

That was my standard reply whenever I got asked whether the Philippines would do well in the Suzuki Cup 2012.

It's not that I don't have faith in the team, it's just that this is the Suzuki Cup and things like history don't count.  


Sure, we are the second-best ranked team coming into the tournament but rankings count for nothing when the ref blows his whistle.

I sort of expected that we'd do poorly against Thailand, and it was the game against Vietnam that I thought would really be the tournament swinger.

Vietnam. 2012 Suzuki Cup. The rematch.

To be honest, I thought this game would really define Philippine football.  This was the one. This was it!

Everything started from the 2010 victory against Vietnam, a game we were content to play defensively, while taking advantage of that rare “Filipino attack” as the commentators called it.

I think fans from both countries have all marked both teams’ second game the moment the draw was announced.

This was it.

Was 2010 a fluke?  

I am a bit superstitious but on the morning of the match, I really had a good feeling, there were no jitters like the morning before the Thailand game.

Because of the horrendous traffic last Tuesday, I got to the game late in the first half and immediately liked what I saw.

Vietnam seemed scared? 

Right then and there, when I saw how we were in the match, I knew it was a reinforcement that that 2010 was no fluke.  This is our level now.

A draw, I thought, would be nice.

But Chieffy Caligdong had other plans.  Minutes Angel Guirado had me screaming “PASA!!!” the former Global striker connected with the Air Force regular, who volleyed in the lone goal about a millisecond earlier than the defense and keeper anticipated.

Boom!

Unlike in 2010, when the football fans were watching in their homes, that goal, I’m sure sparked wild celebrations in all viewing parties here and abroad.

Of course, it’s not over yet, and we have a game to look forward to on Nov. 30—Andres Bonifacio’s birthday and San Pedro Calungsod thanksgiving—against Myanmar.

I also learned, too, we’d have another game to look forward to in March—against Vietnam. Minutes after the win, CFA president Ricky Dakay was texting Dan Palami, Cebu is ready to host again.

Vietnam in March?  That would be a good match.

But what would be a greater match?

Philippines vs. Thailand in March. 

Bring it on.



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