December 5, 2010. Our national team (the Azkals - translates to stray dogs) made the biggest upset in the group stage of the AFF Suzuki Cup 2010. It's been 10 years after the Miracle of Hanoi and is marked as the resurgence of Filipino Football. Let's take a look back at what happened on that night at Vietnam's home ground, the Mỹ Đình National Stadium in Hanoi.
Before the national team's popularity from the masses, we were the weakest and the players need to improve their skills, tactics, and style of play. The Philippines have never won a match against the Golden Dragons since the unification of North and South Vietnam, with a record of 5 loses and 2 draws. Simon McMenemy was the head coach of that time and they need to flourish their counterattacks, while Henrique Callisto needs to face the defensive play of the Azkals.
The Match and Results
Mỹ Đình National Stadium was jam-packed with 40,000 fans supporting their national team. The Azkals had a close chance to score in the 18th Minute. A corner kick from Phil Younghusband, then a header but was blocked until the ball went to Ian Araneta. The shot went off target outside the post. Vietnam had a chance coming from Pham Thanh Luong a minute later but was blocked by Neil Etheridge. The Golden Dragons were given a free-kick minutes later and Nguyễn Minh Phương's curved shot went wide. Chris Greatwitch scored in the 38th Minute with a header goal.
The Vietnamese tried to equalize in the second half, and they failed to make the score even in the 58th Minute by Nguyễn Vũ Phong and Nguyễn Anh Đức which was stopped by Rob Gier. Lê Tấn Tài was replaced by Nguyễn Trọng Hoàng in the 62nd minute and almost scored the equalizer but saved again by Etheridge. Phil Younghusband scored the second goal in the 79th Minute which Dương Hồng Sơn failed to save or at least catch the ball.
After the final whistle, the Azkals won against the Golden Dragons by 2 - nil as the top team in Group B. With this result, they'll face Indonesia in the semi-finals both home and away matches. Unfortunately, our national team failed to reach the final after losing to the Garudas in both matches ending 2 - nil on aggregate.
With their historic win against the most powerful team in Southeast Asia, how does it affect our state of Football here in the Philippines? Did the sport gain popularity among the Filipino people? Will the Dragons have another meeting against the stray dogs? This will be the first part of this article, so stay tuned for the continuation of the Miracle of Hanoi.
Lead Image from http://www.fullcourtfresh.com/azkals-timeline-part-1