PH booters take on Vietnam in Fifa World Cup Qualifiers

Philippine men's football team coach Tom Saintfiet and Christian Rontini Fifa World Cup Qualifiers

Philippine men’s football team coach Tom Saintfiet and Christian Rontini ahead of the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers match against Vietnam . –CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The Philippine men’s football team look to keep its slim hopes of staying alive in the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers with new players in tow for Thursday’s away match against Vietnam at My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi.

Coach Tom Saintfiet’s side needs a win to remain in contention to make the third round of the 2026 global showpiece or otherwise be relegated to the same round of the qualifying competition for the 2027 Asian Cup.

Saintfiet could field six new additions to the squad, including Zico Bailey, Dylan Demuynck, Adrian Ugelik either for the crucial match with the Vietnamese or in the final second round meeting with Indonesia in Jakarta.

READ: Filipino booters take 5-0 drubbing from Iraqis in Fifa World Cup Qualifiers

Veterans Neil Etheridge, OJ Porteria, Patrick Reichelt and Christian Rontini are among those who were included in the 28-man squad list.

“Sure, Vietnam is the favorite, but we come here trying to get the three points. That’s the intention, even if we know it’ll be difficult,” said Saintfiet during the pre-match press conference.

The team formerly known as the Azkals sit at the bottom of Group F with just one point in four matches.

The Philippines dropped both matches in the previous World Cup window to Iraq both in Basra and at Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila last March.

During the lead-up to this latest pair of international matches, the Philippines held camp in Dubai.

Vietnam is second in the group with three points in four matches, trailing Iraq (12 points) and Indonesia (seven points).

Indonesia is hosting Iraq in Thursday’s other Group F match at Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta.

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