The U-23 national team is not shy about the tough challenge it will face against hosts and defending champions Vietnam in the men’s football competitions of the 31st Southeast Asian Games on Sunday 8 May, at Viet Tri Stadium in Phu Tho, Vietnam.
Coach Norman Fegidero’s side will be huge underdogs in the 7 p.m. local time (8 p.m. Manila time) game, although they started the campaign on a convincing note with a 4-0 victory over the Timor-Leste.
Vietnam is coming off a 3-0 win over Indonesia, the same country they beat in the 2019 final held at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
But the Azkals U-23 would rather give their best shot than succumb to low expectations.
“Vietnam are the hosts of the tournament, and of course they will have the 12th man who is their fans,” said Christian Rontini, who scored the opening goal against Timor-Leste.
“But we are not afraid. We will face Vietnam with our heads held high, together. And it will be a good fight, a good match. I think it’s the game everyone wants to play because we have everything that can make you a better player: a big crowd, a big team and a big competition.
“For us, it will be a very good game. We will be ready, I’m sure of that,” added Rontini.
Fegidero hopes the team can come up with a game plan that could give the Philippines a chance to get a favorable result.
“Vietnam are the best team in the competition. But we will make some adjustments,” Fegidero said.
SUBSCRIBE TO THE DAILY NEWSLETTER
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER