The Philippines' senior men's national football team—the Azkals—have moved up two places in this month’s FIFA Rankings and are now rated 150th in the world.
The Azkals are still rated as the third highest South East Asian country but with more than half of the countries in the region dropping in the rankings, Thailand are now in top position after Vietnam fell an incredible twenty six places this month.
With an upcoming friendly match against the US Virgin Islands, now 178th in the world, and a series of friendlies against South East Asian competition replacing participation in the Nehru Cup, the Philippines could jump ahead of Vietnam in the rankings if they perform well.
With the Philippines extending their lead over the fourth ranked South East Asian side – now seven places above Malaysia –they are cementing their place in the top echelons of South East Asia.
Should they perform well in the upcoming friendlies and competitions they could well move ahead of Vietnam too, which would see the Philippines incredibly ranked the second best country in South East Asia for football. This, after less than two years after they shocked Vietnam in the 2010 Suzuki Cup, something sure to add extra fire to the Suzuki Cup which sees the top three SE Asian nations clash in the group of death this November.
After the US training camp, which also includes a friendly against Premier Development League side Chicago Inferno on August 12, 8am, Philippine time, the Philippines are hoping to face Cambodia on September 5, Singapore on September 7, and Laos on September 10.
Rebranding the Long Teng Cup
This will also be followed by the rebranded Long Teng Cup in October, which is reportedly going to be known as the Paulino Alcantara Cup to honor the Fil-Spanish striker who began his career with Barcelona in 1912, exactly one hundred years ago. The man known as “the net-breaker”, for bursting the net with one goal for Spain against France, is still Barcelona’s top scorer with 357 goals in 357 games.
The dates for the rebranded competition remain uncertain with Taiwan hoping the competition can be scheduled for the FIFA sanctioned international break, while Macau will also join but Hong Kong appear to have pulled out – hence the rebranding.
With Guam lined up as their replacements, the Philippines will be strong favorites for the competition which could see the team end its trophy drought after 99 years – when the Philippines took gold in the 1913 Far Eastern games.
The Azkals comprehensively defeated Guam 3-0 in their last fixture but the tiny nation have surprisingly moved up ten places in the last month and are now rated 184th in the world with Suzuki Cup Qualifying favorites Myanmar.
Before the country of 160,000 people gets too far ahead of itself these are the same ratings which now see England rise to third in the world – destroying any credibility the FIFA rating system may have had left.
South East Asia Rankings
Country FIFA Rank Change in Rank
Thailand 133 Up 2
Vietnam 146 Down 26
Philippines 150 Up 2
Malaysia 157 Unchanged
Indonesia 159 Down 6
Singapore 162 Down 4
Guam 184 Up 10
Myanmar 184 Down 4
Cambodia 191 Up 1
Laos 194 Down 4
Brunei 202 Down 1
Timor-Leste 205 Down 1