Despite losing 1-0 to Korea Republic, the Philippines impressed in their AFC Asian Cup 2019 debut as they held their own against perennial contenders.
A goal in the 67th minute proved to be Korea Republic’s saving grace as they were pushed to the limit by the Azkals in their tournament opener.
And despite eventually losing, the Philippines heaped praises and coach Sven-Goan Eriksson believes the team proved something in front of the viewing public.
Speaking to AFC, he said: “They played well, they won and we cannot complain too much about that, but anyhow, I am proud of the team we had out there.
“I think we stood up to them. They had the ball much more than we had, but we created some chances, and with a little bit of luck we could have had a different result for sure.
“I think we showed the people here in the stadium, in front of the television that this country (Philippines) can play football, because I think we did a lot of good things.”
At the moment, the Philippines are at the bottom of the table but the 70-year-old believes they still have hope to turn things around with pending matches against China PR and Kyrgyz Republic.
“I think we played one of the best (teams) in this tournament tonight, and we created chances against them, so that gives up hope for the next two games in this group that we can do something even better,” the Swede shared.
“Even after we lost, the confidence went up. I spoke briefly with the players in the dressing room, and the mood is good (even though) we lost the game, and they know they did a good job.
“I want to see that we dominate and keep the ball better against China. We created some good chances (against Korea Republic), and I’m sure we can do that against China as well, but we must keep the ball a little more than today. Good for the heart of the coach too.”