Philippines
Tournament record:
Semi-finalists 2010, 2012 and 2014

Nickname:
Azkals (Street Dogs)

National coach:
Thomas Dooley (USA)

The Philippines continued their march to the top of ASEAN football two years ago with a third successive appearance in the semi-finals of the AFF Suzuki Cup and a first victory over Indonesia in 80 years.

While coach Thomas Dooley admitted that Thailand, their last-four conquerors, were a “little bit of everything at a different level” he felt his side could “go back home with our heads held high.”

Philippines came into the AFF Suzuki Cup 2014 as the top-rated team in ASEAN at 128th and they justified their ranking in the first two group games.

A comfortable 4-1 victory over Laos was followed by the historic 4-0 demolition of Indonesia, the six points seeing Philippines into the last four with a game to spare.

They took their foot off the pedal in the final group game against hosts Vietnam and went down 3-1.

Philippines were at home for the first leg of their semi-final against Thailand and they missed a glorious chance to notch a famous win. Thailand were reduced to 10 men with 20 minutes remaining of what had been an exciting and entertaining game but held on for a 0-0 draw.

Thailand shed their defensive cloak in the second leg and an early goal from midfield maestro Chanathip Songkrasin and a second half brace by Kroekrit Thawikan saw the Philippines exit the tournament at the semi-final stage for the third straight time.

That loss has proved a temporary setback for the Azkals with a good campaign in the 2018 FIFA World Cup/ 2019 AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers highlighted by a 3-2 home victory over DPR Korea earlier this year.

Midway through the qualifiers, they suffered a blow with the retirement from international football of influential duo Jerry Lucena and Paul Mulders though it has been softened by the emergence of overseas-based pair Javier Patino and Iain Ramsay.

With home advantage for the group stage, Philippines will enter AFF Suzuki Cup 2016 as one of the favourites with Dooley, who signed a two-year contract extension in May, targeting a place in the final.
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