By FRANCIS SANTIAGO
July 8, 2011, 10:34pm
MANILA, Philippines — Pitted against an experienced and superior team, the Philippine football team will concentrate on defense when it battles Kuwait in the second round of the qualifying tournament for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
German coach Michael Weiss said it will be foolish if the Azkals will push forward against the Middle East football power, a strategy they used in carving out a 4-0 win over Sri Lanka Sunday.
“We will not be able to play offensively like that (similar to Sri Lanka game) because we will get hammered like we’ve never seen before,” Weiss, 46, said. “We have to choose different tactics. If we stand compact against Kuwait, then we have a chance.”
The Azkals will play Kuwait, known as the Al-Azraq (The Blue), in a home-and-away series starting July 23 at the Mohammad Al Hamad Stadium at 7:30 p.m. (12:30 a.m. Manila time) with the return leg set 7 p.m. at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“It (the game) will be played under incredible hot condition, so we have to play smart and not waste our energy against opponents who move the ball very fast and probably are technically superior,” Weiss said of the one-time Asian Cup champion and eight-time Gulf Cup winner.
Although ranked 58 spots higher than the Filipinos in the FIFA listing, Kuwait is not taking the second round series lightly.
The Kuwaitis trained in Lebanon for 10 days since June 27, according to the Kuwait Football Association website. They are also set to play a mini-tournament in Amnan, Jordan next week.
“We have to analyze them very carefully. I have all the tapes of their games in the past. I will watch that and we’re looking forward to the challenge,” Weiss said. “Kuwait is a very strong team and we have to step up more than 10, 20 or even 30 percent because if not, we will have a difficult time.”
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