Kanchenjunga Stadium, Silliguri
India will host Philippines in upcoming International friendly on 15th November 2013 in Kanchenjunga Stadium, Silliguri, West Bengal. The new look Indian side with as many as 10 changes from the last squad which played in SAFF championship will be eager to put up a good show against the ASEAN side. Philippines on the other hand will be in this match after facing a thrashing against UAE. Philippines are ranked above India and preparing for AFC Challenge cup and certainly will look to put pressure on the new look Indian team.
Team News And Tactical Brief
2013 SAFF Championship was a disappointment for the Indian team. They were far from impressive and many pundits criticized the team selection by the coaching staff. After the SAFF championship this is a first International fixture of India. Wim Koeverman since winning the Nehru Cup has failed to give a positive result. Few consistent performers in I-League have been given a chance to showcase their talent at International stage. Seasoned pro such as Syed Rahim Nabi, Gauramangi Singh and Subrata Paul have been excluded from the setup due to lack of match fitness. This could just turn blessing in disguise for the Wim Koevermans Indian team who may find a new star with as many as 4 uncapped players in the team.
Karanjit Singh has been in exceptional form for Salgaocar FC under the bar this season. The custodian has managed to pull of stunning performances in the league and deserved to get called for the national set up. Subhashish Roy Chowdhury has had a mixed season so far for Dempo SC but found him lucky to get called to the national team. It will be unlikely that he will start for the match. Arindam Bhattacharya’s side Churchill Brothers may be in the turmoil at present but his performance has certainly been worth watching.
India defense line looks inexperienced and will have to be on their toes against the Philippines. Arnab Mondal and Raju Gaikwad will be the center backs of the team. Both had a rather poor season with their club but playing for national team could catalyze their performance. Denzil Franco has been in Indian team on many occasions but has failed to cement his place. This could be the golden opportunity for him to prove his critics wrong. Gurjinder Kumar and Aiborlang Khongjee have been rewarded with their consistent performance in I-League. The defenders were knocking the door for quite some time now and will look to grab this opportunity with both hands. Narayan Das is a very enterprising youngster; the versatile player can play as a wing back as well as midfield. The 20 year old will be on to watch out for.
The midfield of the team looks good with a lot of experienced campaigners in the team. Clifford Miranda has been recalled after missing from the SAFF Championship squad. The veteran midfield is one the most experience players in the squad. Mehtab Hussain and Lenny Rodrigues will continue to start in the middle of the park. Their performance will have to be of high standard in the match. Francis Fernandes has retained his place after giving some stunning performances for his club in I-League. Rocus Lamare has been recalled after a long time. The media have been unsung hero for his club. Highly rated C.K Vineeth, Lalrindika Ralte and Victorino Fernandes have been awarded a national team call up. The youngsters are known for their blistering pace and eye for the goal. Three of them have impressed everyone in the I-League.
Indian strikers are the weak link in the team. Captain Sunil Chhetri has not been in form for his club. He has been playing out of position off lately. Robin Singh is unseen in this season and his selection has surprised everyone. Jeje who replaced injured Dawson Fernandes has off lately found the form and he will look to continue that with the national team.
Probables Indian Starting XI(4-4-2): Karanjit Singh; Denzil Franco, Arnab Mondal, Raju Gaikwad, Gurjinder Singh; Francis Fernandes, Lenny Rodrigues, Mehtab Hussain, Clifford Mirranda; Sunil Chetri, Robin Singh.
Key Players: Sunil Chettri, Mehtab Hussain, Clifford Mirranda.
Philippines is the top Ranked team in ASEAN at present and the Azkals have been on a remarkable for a year and a half. The inclusion of foreign based players has certainly raised level of their game. German Coach Micheal Wiess certainly has been a central figure in the rise of the Azkals. The team has qualified for the AFC Challenge Cup and are hot favorite to get tickets to Asia Cup 2015.
The defense line of the team looks strong with the likes of Rob Gier, Ray Jhonsson and Juan Luis Guirado. Rob Gier has been superb for the Azkals since his debut. The experience defender has shown good leadership quality at the back. He will have good support from Ray Jhonso and Juan Luis Guirado. Stephan Schrock is the player to watch out during the friendly. He plays for Eintracht Frankfurt in Bundesliga. The versatile player was not present for the UAE match where Azkals god drubbed 4-0. His inclusion will certainly boost team and he will be ready to attack Indian team.
Jerry Luciana and Pattrick Reichelt are other two midfielder who been in the setup for some time now. They will certainly pose lots of threats to Indian players with their pace and creativity. Phil Younghusband will be in the mind of the Indian team. The striker was instrumental in defeating India last time around. The brace from striker had knocked out India from the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers. Angel Guirado has played in India for a short period of time with Salgaocar FC and the tall striker is known for his accuracy and Indian defenders will find it difficult to get hold of him.
Philippines have experience players in their side. Last time when India played against Philippines it was all one way traffic. The Azkals is hard team to beat when they are on the song. Stephan Schrock could be the nemesis for Indian defense. The German born Philippines International has been part of the German junior teams but choose to represent Philippines. He could be the difference between the two sides. Micheal Weiss in a short period has transformed Philippines into a dangerous unit. It will be very difficult for host to control them and Micheal Weiss will like to see his team score a big win.
Probable Philippines Starting XI (4-4-2): Roland Muller; Rob Geir, Juan Luis Guirado, Ray Jhonsson, Jerry Barbosa; James Younghusband, Jerry Luciana, Stephan Schrock, Patrick Reichalt; Phil Younghusband, Angel Guirado.
Key Players: Stephan Schrock, Phil Younghusband.
India 1 -3 Philippines
Indian team has many new faces and team is yet to settle down as a unit. A lot of youngsters in the team are worth watching but in International friendlies it will be interesting to see how they cope up with the pressure. On other hand Philippines will have advantage of foreign based players who play in higher leagues. The experience of playing in top leagues will certainly help them. The Azkals looks clear favourite in this match. The Blue Tigers have to come up with something special to upset Philippines.