Azkals skipper Younghusband not sweating 'Group of Death'

ABS-CBN Sports on Nov 19, 2016 11:38 AM
Azkals skipper Younghusband not sweating 'Group of Death'
"It doesn’t matter which team comes, They’re all strong teams and we’ll go into every game with the same mentality and the same attitude. "

When the AFF Suzuki Cup draw came to a close, you could somewhat feel a collective groan from Filipino football fans when they saw the group that the Philippine Azkals had been drawn into. 

The Philippines were tasked with hosting Group A of the biennial tournament, which includes Southeast Asian football powerhouses Thailand, Singapore, and Indonesia, instantly getting the title of "Group of Death" from fans and experts alike. 

Why the name? 

It's because those three countries have been in the finals or have won the AFF Suzuki Cup in the last three editions of the tournament. 

Here's a quick breakdown: 

- Thailand are the defending champions, winning in 2014 (and in 1996 and 2000, and 2002). 

- Singapore won title back in 2012 (with Thailand as runners-up). Like Thailand, Singapore has won the title four times. (2007, 2004, 1998)

- Indonesia has come in second place four times, (2000, 2002, 2004, 2010

So yeah, the "Group of Death" monicker is pretty warranted. For their part, the Philippines have made the semis for the last three editions. 

For Azkals skipper Phil Younghusband, the Group of Death isn't really anything to be singled out, because he believes that every team in the Suzuki Cup is a challenge. 

"When it comes to the Suzuki Cup, no team is easy, they’re all difficult teams," Younghusband told ABS-CBN Sports. "Whether in the other group, it would have been the same, the same situation, there are still some strong teams in the other group."

The Fil-Brit forward added that getting far in the Suzuki Cup falls squarely on the shoulders of the Azkals players themselves. How they perform in the tournament will depend on how well they play in the pitch. 

"We have to focus on our game and how we play, and we know If we apply everything we’ve learned and we give our all and we play our best game, we have a good chance of doing well in this competition and winning it."

Whether it be against Singapore or Vietnam from Group B, Younghusband says that the Azkals' approach won't change a bit. 

"It doesn’t matter which team comes, They’re all strong teams and we’ll go into every game with the same mentality and the same attitude. "

 

The Philippine Azkals open the AFF Suzuki Cup against Singapore on Saturday, November 19, 8:00 pm at the Philippine Sports Stadium in Bocaue, Bulacan. 

 

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