Philippines national football team

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Shirt badge/Association crest
Nickname(s) Azkals (Street dogs)
Association Philippine Football Federation
Sub-confederation AFF (South-East Asia)
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Head coach Thomas Dooley
Asst coach Sebastian Stache
Captain Rob Gier
Vice-captain Phil Younghusband
Home stadium Rizal Memorial Stadium
FIFA ranking 137 Increase 2 (7 May 2015)
Highest FIFA ranking 127 (December 2013 - February 2014)
Lowest FIFA ranking 195 (September 2006)
Elo ranking 137
Highest Elo ranking 26 (February 1913 – May 1915)
Lowest Elo ranking 216 (December 2004)
First colors
Second colors
First international
 Philippines 2–1 China 
(Manila, Philippines; February 1, 1913)
Biggest win
 Japan 2–15 Philippines Philippines
(Tokyo, Japan; May 10, 1917)
Biggest defeat
 Japan 15–0 Philippines Philippines
(Tokyo, Japan; September 27, 1967)

The Philippines national football team is the national football team of the Philippines and represents the country in international football. The team is controlled by the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), the governing body of football in the Philippines.

The national team has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup or the Asian Cup, despite being one of the oldest national teams in Asia[1] and has been playing at the international level as early as 1913.[2] The national team's best finish in a major tournament was at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup where they finished second after losing to Palestine in the finals.


Early years[edit]

The Philippines participated at the Far Eastern Championship Games, which included football. The first edition was in 1913 and the last was in 1934. The games were the first regional football tournament for national teams outside Britain. The national team routinely faced Japan and China and at one edition the Dutch East Indies at the games. The Philippines won over China at the inaugural tournament with the scoreline of 2–1. At the 1917 edition, the Philippine team achieved its biggest win in international football to date against Japan with the scoreline of 15–2 with the help of Paulino Alcantara.[2][3][4]

After the dissolution of the Far Eastern Championship Games, the national squad participated at the 1940 East Asian Games organized to commemorate the 2600th anniversary of the foundation of the Empire of Japan by Emperor Jimmu. The team finished third behind champions Japan and second placers, Manchukuo and ahead of the Republic of China.[5][6]


In the 1950s the Philippines hosted friendlies with international based side, However the national team experienced lack of funding and barely received any coverage from the media. During that time talents from the national team were drawn from the Manila Football League which received substantial support from the Chinese-Filipino community. The national team's decent performance at the 1958 Asian Games, hosted in Tokyo, where they defeated Japan, 1–0 in a game which was labeled as an upset by the Japanese press.[7]

After 1958, saw the decline of Philippine football, several key players resigned from the national team due to financial challenges for playing for the national team. National team players Ed Ocampo and Eduardo Pacheco switched to basketball, and went on playing for commercial basketball clubs where players are paid. The local talent pool of the national team saw some setbacks due to poor decision by Philippine football officials. During the term of Philippine Football Association (PFA) president, Don Manolo Elizalde, which lasted from 1966 to 1974, Fernando Alvarez was appointed by the football body as secretary general. Alvarez enacted the 60-40 rule over all teams in leagues under the PFA meaning that 60 percent of teams' roster must be composed of Filipinos and 40 percent Chinese. Sponsors withdrew and leagues, which were mostly funded by the Chinese-Filipino community started to decline. The 60-40 rule was lifted much later under president Johnny Romualdez of the Philippine Football Federation (PFF), after 1982 when the PFA has reorganized itself as the PFF.[7][8]

The national team suffered defeats with big margins at the 1962 Asian Games in Jakarta.[7] This includes the national team's record 15-1 defeat to Malaysia, which became the worst defeat of the national team at that time. The record was later broken by the 15-0 lose to Japan in 1967 at the qualifiers for the 1968 Summer Olympics. Foreigners were hired to serve as head coaches for the national team in an attempt to reduce big margin loses. Englishman, Allan Rogers was hired following the record defeat to Malaysia and Spaniard Juan Cutillas was likewise tasked to lead the national team following the record defeat to Japan.[9]

The national team under German head coach, Eckhard Krautzun finished fourth overall at the 1991 Southeast Asian Games, its best ever finish at the tournament. The Philippines dealt a 1-0 defeat to defending champions Malaysia at the tournament which knocked out the latter out of the tournament at just the group stage. Norman Fegidero scored the sole goal for the Philippines.[9][10][11]


In September 2006, the country fell to 195th on the FIFA World Rankings, its lowest ever.[12] By the end of the year, the Philippines moved back up to 171st overall, after a good run in the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship qualification.[13] They were able to win three games in a row which was a first for the Philippines and thus qualifying for the 2007 ASEAN Football Championship.[14] Coach at that time Aris Caslib, aimed to reach the semifinals with two wins at the group stage.[15] The decision came despite Philippine Football Federation president Juan Miguel Romualdez stating that they would still be underdogs in the tournament and that they mustn't raise their expectations too high,[13] as the Philippines have only won their first ever win of the tournament during the 2004 edition.[16]

The Philippines eventually failed to reach their target, only getting a draw in three matches. Their poor performances led to Caslib's resignation,[17] as well as the refusal of the PFF to register and enter the qualification stages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[18] They would be one of four nations, all from Southeast Asia not to enter after a record number of entries.[19] However it was revealed that the decision not to enter the 2010 as well as the 2006 World Cup qualification was made during the PFF presidency of Rene Adad, whose term ended in 2003.[18] Instead, the PFF wanted to focus on domestic and regional competitions.[20]

The Philippines failed to qualify for any major competition in 2008. They missed out on the 2008 AFC Challenge Cup only on goal difference,[21] and the 2008 AFF Suzuki Cup with an inferior goals scored record.[22]

Dan Palami, businessman and sports patron, was appointed as team manager of the national team in 2009 by the Philippine Football Federation. The national team still receive minimal support from the government. Palami made financial investments to the team using his own personal money. Since taking responsibility over the national team, he has envisioned a plan named Project 100, which plans to make the team among the top 100 national teams in the world in terms of FIFA rankings. More foreign-born Filipinos were called up to play for the national squad.[23]


In 2010, they qualified for the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup, where they stayed undefeated in the group stage against powerhouses nations and also went on to beat defending champions Vietnam, in a match considered as one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament.[24] Their win against Vietnam, also referred by local Filipino fans as the "Miracle of Hanoi", was considered as the match that started a football renaissance in the country where basketball is the more popular sport.[25][26] The team reached the knockout stage for the first time but played all their games in Jakarta due to the unavailability of a stadium that passes AFF standards, eventually losing to Indonesia in the semifinals. The Philippines was the first and, as of now, only team that made to the AFF Semi-Finals that went through the qualification. In 2011, the Philippines qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup for the first time since qualifiers were introduced in the tournament.

On July 3, 2011, the Philippines recorded their first ever victory in FIFA World Cup qualification, beating Sri Lanka 4–0 in the second leg of the first preliminary round. They advanced 5–1 on aggregate, drawing 1–1 in the first leg before winning at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.[27] The Philippines advanced to the second round against Kuwait, where the Filipinos were beaten 5–1 on aggregate, losing both matches.

On March 11, 2012, the Philippines recorded its first win in the AFC Challenge Cup by defeating previous champions India 2–0 and followed by another victory in March 13, which they won 2–1 against Tajikistan, thus qualifying for the semifinals for the first time. However, on March 16, 2012, the team suffered a 2–1 defeat against Turkmenistan in their semifinals match.[28] The Philippines made up for their semifinals loss to Turkmenistan by beating Palestine 4–3 to win third place.[29]

On September 29, 2012, the Philippines won the 2012 Philippine Peace Cup by winning all of the three matches. It was also their first title since the 1913 Far Eastern Games.

On November 30, 2012, the team made it to the semifinals of the 2012 AFF Suzuki Cup. The Rizal Memorial Stadium hosted its first Suzuki Cup match, a 0–0 draw against Singapore; Singapore won the semifinals by winning the return leg in Singapore, 1–0.

The Philippines reached the final of the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup. With a berth to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup on the line, the Philippines lost to Palestine 1–0 on May 30. In the Peace Cup later that year, Myanmar defeated the Philippines 3–2 in the final.

In the 2014 AFF Championship, the Philippines defeated Indonesia for the first time since the 1934 Far Eastern Games.[30] This win and an earlier win against Laos propelled the Philippines to a third consecutive semifinal appearance despite losing to group stage host Vietnam on their third match.[31] The Philippines faced Thailand in the two-legged semifinal, coming up with a goalless draw against their opponents at home in Manila but losing the away match at Bangkok.[32]

Team image[edit]


Fans of the national team during a friendly against SV Darmstadt 98 in Germany.
24 June 2011

Some fans have organized themselves to support the national team. Among these groups were the Kaholeros which formed in 2011 and the Ultras Filipinas.[33]


Puma was the official outfitter of the national team during the 1996 AFC Asian Cup qualification.[34] Later that year, Adidas assumed that role and outfitted the team that participated at the 1996 Tiger Cup.[35]

In March 2008, the PFF signed a three-year, 9-million contract with Mizuno to become the official outfitter and equipment supplier of the national team, as well as becoming a major partner in its grassroots development programs.[36][37]

On June 4, 2012, the PFF signed a three-year agreement with Puma to become the official kit sponsor of the national team. They will be releasing the official long term home and away kits soon in association with Cougar Athletic Trends, with designs said to be comparable to that of Italy and Cameroon and other nations that use Puma as their kit designers.[38]

The traditional home kit is similar to the France national team; blue jersey, white shorts, and red socks.[39] However, in recent times, the home and away kit has either been all-blue, all-red or all-white. Currently the home kit's main color is white, while the away kit is blue.[40]






The logo sometimes used in broadcasts

Under the official FIFA Trigramme the team's name is abbreviated as PHI; this acronym is used by FIFA, the AFC and the AFF to identify the team in official competitions.[41] The team is also identified under the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) country code for the Philippines as PHL.[42] However the team was more commonly known as the RP, the acronym for the country's official name, Republika ng Pilipinas,[41] which the local press used when they referred to the team as the "RP Booters"[43] or the "RP XI".[44] This was until late October 2010 when the Department of Foreign Affairs decided to change the official abbreviation of the country from "RP" to "PH" or "PHL", to be in line with ISO standards.[45] The local press have since referred to the team as either "PH/PHL Booters"[46][47] or "PH/PHL XI".[48][49]

The national team is referred to as the "Azkals".[50] The name was coined when an online Philippine football community proposed the nickname Calle Azul (Spanish for Streets of Blue, referring to the color of their kit) which was modified to Azul Calle, shortened to AzCal, and finally became Azkal – a word that is similar to Filipino term Askal meaning street dog.[51] “Azkals” became a trending topic on Twitter during the semifinals of the 2010 AFF Suzuki Cup.[52]

They are also known as the "Tri–Stars" which is derived from the three stars on the Philippine flag, although this nickname is not frequently used.[53]


Rizal Memorial Stadium

During the early years of the Philippine national team, they played their home matches at the Manila Carnival Grounds. By 1934 it became the site of the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.[54] One of the facilities within the complex is the 30,000 capacity national stadium, known as the Rizal Memorial Track and Football Stadium or simply the Rizal Memorial Stadium. Since its opening, it has been the home venue of the Philippine national team.

However, it has also become a hub for track and field. The continued use for athletics along with poor maintenance has deteriorated the stadium and the 1991 Southeast Asian Games was the last time it was used for international football matches. In early 2009, the Philippine Sports Commission planned to transform it to a modern football stadium which would make it usable by the national team for international matches.[55]

The national team also held official international matches at the Cebu City Sports Complex in Cebu City,[56]Panaad Stadium in Bacolod,[57] Iloilo Sports Complex in Iloilo City[58] and at the Barotac Nuevo Plaza Field in Barotac Nuevo.[59]

Competitive records[edit]

World Cup[edit]

The Philippines has never qualified for the FIFA World Cup finals. The national team entered the 1950 FIFA World Cup qualification but withdrew without playing a single game. The country's entry to the 1966 edition was not accepted and the national team withdrew from the 1974 FIFA World Cup qualification just as they did in the 1950 qualifiers.[60] The national team made its first participation in a FIFA World Cup qualifiers for the 1998 edition.

At the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Yanti Barsales made the first goal for the Philippines at a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Syria.[61][62]

The national team did not enter the qualifiers for the next succeeding editions until the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, about 10 years later.[63] The national team secured their first victory in a World Cup qualifier against Sri Lanka, 4-0.[64][65]

Olympic Games[edit]

The senior national team never managed to qualify for the Olympics.

  • Since 1992, the Olympic team has been drawn from a squad with a maximum of three players over 23 years of age, and the achievements of this team are not generally regarded as part of the national team's records, nor are the statistics credited to the players' international records.

Asian Cup[edit]

The Philippines has never qualified for the Asian Cup. For the 2007 until the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, the Philippines attempted to qualify for the tournament through the AFC Challenge Cup.[62][66][67]

  • After the inception of the AFC Challenge Cup, new changes in AFC Competition rules were made. Countries categorized as "emerging nations" which include the Philippines, do not enter Asian Cup qualification starting with the 2011 edition. Therefore, failure to qualify and failure to win the Challenge Cup automatically results in failure to qualify for the Asian Cup.[68]

Asian Games[edit]

The senior national team made its best finish at the 1958 Asian Games where it reached the Quarterfinals of the tournament. The Philippines also has hosted the 1954 edition.

  • Only until the 1998 edition is listed; football at the Asian Games changed to an under-23 tournament since the 2002 edition.

AFC Challenge Cup[edit]

The AFC Challenge Cup was organized as a route for nations classified as "emerging or "developing" as a sole route to qualify for the Asian Cup. The Philippines is among these nations[66][67] and participated at the inaugural 2006 AFC Challenge Cup. After a qualification phase was introduced the Philippines failed to qualify for the next two succeeding editions in 2008 and 2010. The Philippines qualified for the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup where the finished third.[69] Phil Younghusband was the Golden Boot winner of the edition scoring six goals in the final tournament.[70] The team reached the finals of 2014 edition of the tournament settling for second place after losing to Palestine in the finals.[71] The AFC Challenge Cup tournament was dissolved after the 2014 edition.[67]

The Philippines' AFC Challenge Cup record
Year AFC Challenge Cup record Qualifying record
Round GP W D L GS GA Round GP W D L GS GA
Bangladesh 2006 Round 1 3 0 2 1 2 3 No qualification
India 2008 Did not qualify Group Stage 3 2 1 0 4 0
Sri Lanka 2010 Did not qualify Group Stage 3 1 0 2 3 8
Nepal 2012 3rd place 5 3 0 2 9 8 Round 2 5 2 2 1 7 3
Maldives 2014 2nd place 5 3 1 1 7 3 Group Stage 2 2 0 0 9 0
Total 13 6 3 4 18 14 - 13 7 3 3 23 11

Far Eastern Games[edit]

Out of the ten football tournaments held in 10 editions of the Far Eastern Games, The Philippines only won inaugural 1913 edition[72] despite fielding American, Spanish and British players violating tournament rules. The team was nevertheless named champions.[73] China was awarded champions of the nine other editions of the tournaments.[72] At the 1917 Far Eastern Games, the Philippines recorded its biggest victory in an international match to date, which was the 15-2 win against Japan. FC Barcelona player, Paulino Alcántara was part of the national squad.[3]

AFF Championship[edit]

The Philippines fared poorly during the first seven edition of the AFF Championship from 1996 to 2008 losing 19 out of 21 matches.[69] The Philippines' worst defeat at the tournament was the 1-13 match against Indonesia at the 2002 AFF Championship which was also remains the highest scoreline in the tournament as of 2014.[74] The national team made to its first semi-finals at the 2010 AFF Championship.[69]

Southeast Asian Games[edit]

The senior national team managed to reach the semi-finals of the football tournament of the Southeast Asian Games before the football was made into an under-23 tournament.

  • Only until the 1999 edition is listed; football at the SEA Games changed to an under-23 tournament since the 2001 edition.
  • The 1959–1975 editions are not listed as the Philippines were not yet members of the SEAP Federation.

Minor tournaments[edit]

The Philippines participated at numerous minor friendly tournaments. Aside from other national teams, the Philippine nationals also faced selection teams and club sides from other nations at some of these tournaments. The team made a podium finish, placing not below third place, at the Japanese Empire-sanctioned East Asian Games in 1940, the Long Teng Cup (2010, 2011) held in Taiwan, and all three editions of the Philippine Peace Cup (2012, 2013 and 2014) hosted by the home country.


Current squad[edit]

Match dates: March 30, 2015
Opposition: Bahrain[75]
Competition: International Friendly

No. Pos. Player Date of Birth (age) Club
1 1GK Neil Etheridge (1990-02-07) February 7, 1990 (age 25) England Charlton Athletic
15 1GK Roland Muller (1988-03-02) March 2, 1988 (age 27) Switzerland Servette
16 1GK Patrick Deyto (1990-02-15) February 15, 1990 (age 25) Philippines Global
2 2DF Rob Gier (1981-01-06) January 6, 1981 (age 34) England Ascot United
3 2DF Álvaro Silva (1984-03-30) March 30, 1984 (age 31) Kuwait Al-Qadsia
5 2DF Juan Luis Guirado (1979-08-27) August 27, 1979 (age 35) Philippines Ceres
11 2DF Daisuke Sato (1994-09-20) September 20, 1994 (age 20) Philippines Global
12 2DF Amani Aguinaldo (1995-04-24) April 24, 1995 (age 20) Philippines Global
23 2DF Simone Rota (1984-11-06) November 6, 1984 (age 30) Philippines Stallion
34 2DF Kenshiro Daniels (1995-01-13) January 13, 1995 (age 20) Philippines Kaya
7 3MF James Younghusband (1986-09-04) September 4, 1986 (age 28) Philippines Loyola Meralco Sparks
8 3MF Manuel Ott (1992-05-06) May 6, 1992 (age 23) Philippines Ceres
17 3MF Satoshi Ōtomo (1981-10-01) October 1, 1981 (age 33) Philippines Global
19 3MF Jerry Lucena (1980-08-11)August 11, 1980 (aged 34) Denmark Esbjerg
20 3MF OJ Porteria (1994-05-09) May 9, 1994 (age 21) Philippines Kaya
21 3MF Martin Steuble (1988-06-09) June 9, 1988 (age 26) Philippines Ceres
24 3MF Simon Greatwich (1988-09-30) September 30, 1988 (age 26) Philippines Loyola Meralco Sparks
29 3MF Patrick Reichelt (1988-06-15) June 15, 1988 (age 26) Philippines Ceres
35 3MF Dennis Villanueva (1992-04-28) April 28, 1992 (age 23) Philippines Global
10 4FW Phil Younghusband (1987-08-04) August 4, 1987 (age 27) Philippines Loyola Meralco Sparks
13 4FW Ruben Doctora (1986-04-17) April 17, 1986 (age 29) Philippines Stallion
25 4FW Mark Hartmann (1992-01-20) January 20, 1992 (age 23) Philippines Global
33 4FW Javier Patiño (1988-02-14) February 14, 1988 (age 27) China Henan Jianye

Recent call-ups[edit]

The following players have been called up for the Philippines within the past 12 months.

No. Pos. Player Date of Birth (age) Club
1GK Tomas Trigo (1989-06-08) June 8, 1989 (age 25) Philippines Loyola Meralco Sparks
2DF Dennis Cagara (1985-02-19) February 19, 1985 (age 30) Free agent
3MF Misagh Bahadoran (1987-01-10) January 10, 1987 (age 28) Philippines Global
3MF Paolo Bugas (1994-10-22) October 22, 1994 (age 20) Philippines Global
3MF Curt Dizon (1994-02-04) February 4, 1994 (age 21) Philippines Global
3MF Chris Greatwich (1983-09-30) September 30, 1983 (age 31) Philippines Kaya
3MF Paul Mulders (1981-01-16) January 16, 1981 (age 34) Philippines Ceres
3MF Stephan Schröck (1986-08-21) August 21, 1986 (age 28) Germany SpVgg Greuther Fürth
4FW Jovin Bedic (1990-06-08) June 8, 1990 (age 24) Philippines Kaya
4FW Nate Burkey (1985-01-07) January 7, 1985 (age 30) Philippines Ceres

Previous squads[edit]

Fixtures and results[edit]


Current coaching staff
Position Name
Head Coach United States Thomas Dooley
Assistant Coach Germany Sebastian Stache
Team Manager Philippines Dan Palami
Fitness Coach Philippines Josef Malinay
Goalkeeping Coach Switzerland Pascal Zuberbühler

One of the earlier coaches of the national team was Dionisio Calvo. Foreign coaches of American, Argentinean, English, German, Scottish and Spanish nationality has managed the national team. Juan Cutillas has managed the team in at least four non-consecutive tenures (1969–78, 1981–1984, 1996–00 and 2008–09).

Michael Weiß led the national team to its best finish in a tournament sanctioned by the Asian Football Confederation and FIFA by leading the team to second place at the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup. The past three coaches, Simon McMenemy, Michael Weiß and current head coach, Thomas Dooley, also made some strides at the regional level leading the team to the semifinals at the AFF Suzuki Cup (2010, 2012 and 2014 editions respectively), the top football tournament in Southeast Asia. Eckhard Krautzun also led the national team to the semifinals, its best finish at the 1991 Southeast Asian Games, before football became a under-23 tournament at said multi-sporting event.

Previous coaches[edit]

See also[edit]


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