Sunday, November 25, 2012

It's not over yet

MID-WAY through the 30th annivesary party of Sun.Star Cebu, I and a few other football fans went to the Port Seafood restaurant to catch the Philippines vs. Thailand game over AKTV.

But I missed one of the moments in the match, when, after Paul Mulders made it 2-1 after a lovely field from Patrick Reichelt, I decided to take a piss.  When I returned, I was told that Coach Michael Weiss got red-carded for throwing the ball at a player.


With all those tackles flying in the game, with Juani Guirado, Dennis Cagara and Phil Younghusband getting in the wrong end of the Thais' rough house tactics, I expected to see a red card.  But I certainly didn't expect to see coach Weiss in the stands.

But I'll reserve judgement for that once I see the replay of the incident.

So, are we--as some of the folks have been asking over Twitter--out of the Suzuki Cup?  Nope, we're far from it.  So, here's a brief tutorial.  The top two teams in the group stage advance to the semifinals, and right now, we are dead last in the group with 0 points.  A win is worth three points and a draw is one.

With the win, Thailand is on top with three, Vietnam and Myanmar are tied for second with one, and we're last.  We got two games left, against Vietnam on Nov. 27 and Myanmar on Nov. 30 and that means a maximum of six points if we win, and even if Thailand sweeps its last two matches, we'd still be second in the group as Myanmar and Vietnam could only get a maximum of four in this scenario.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with Ed Formoso, after the Philippines lost its opening match to Laos in the 2006 AFF Championships qualifiers.  I told Ed that we could still be No. 1 if Laos loses to......

He said,"Forget about No. 1, let's give it to Laos. Let's focus on our games."

So losing the first game against Thailand isn't a cause for panic, just yet.  Besides, we also lost the first game to North Korea, 2-0, in the AFC Challenge Cup last February and recovered nicely in the next two matches.

As to coach Weiss, he'll be sitting Tuesday's game out because of his antics, and though someone else will be in the sidelines, I'm sure he'll
still be making the calls.

And I think one of the Coach Weiss' first moves is to tinker with his starting lineup.  Thailand's coach scouted us well during the Singapore game, and the goals last Saturday came from the side where Singapore launched most of their attacks last Nov. 15.

As for Phil Younghusband, if the coaching staff won't field him for the full 90 minutes, I think it would be better if he comes off the bench, like he did in Singapore.  That way, he'd have fresh legs and those eager to plant their faces on him won't be as fresh.

However, for those who has been following football for the past year or so, there's one thing you should consider when it comes to substitutions, and the thinking process that goes with it.  Unlike the previous friendlies, and even the Peace Cup tournament, there's only three per game in the Suzuki Cup and coaches generally reserve one, in case the keeper gets injured. (If you use all three, and the keeper gets injured or red-carded, you'll have to replace him with someone already in the field, like what happened in that semifinal loss in the Challenge Cup).

So who starts against Vietnam will be one of the interesting topics to discuss in the next few days.

By the way, somebody mentioned that the Japanese referee who was wearing blinders gave out two yellow cards on one Thai player but
didn't send him off.  I've been waiting for the official match report in the site, but there's none.

Because of what Coach Weiss did, he'd be sitting out one match but I think if the case of the yellow cards is true, I think the referee in the Thailand vs. Philippines game deserve to sit out the rest of the tournament, too.

See you this Tuesday!

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