Schrock proud of Philippines despite defeat in Asian Cup

GERMAN PRESS AGENCY - DPA
ABU DHABI
Published

The Philippines were left with pride rather than points despite impressing in their Asian Cup debut against South Korea on Monday and are now eagerly anticipating their next match with China.

"We are very proud of that result," midfielder Stephan Schrock told the governing Asian Football Confederation (AFC) website of the 1-0 defeat in Dubai. He referenced South Korea beating his native Germany 2-0 at the World Cup in Russia last year.

Schrock is one of six German-born players in the squad managed by Swedish veteran coach Sven Goran Eriksson alongside the Ott brothers Mike and Manuel, John Patrick Strauss, Kevin Ingreso and Patrick Reicheldt.

Other European nations can claim representation in the Philippine group as well, such as Denmark and the Netherlands, while Spanish-born Javier Patino went close to causing an upset against the Koreans.

The 30-year-old forward had a tremendous volley saved and couldn't convert another chance at 0-0 as the Philippines more than matched the two-time champion Koreans.

But eventually quality told and the South Koreans manufactured a 67th minute winner through Hwang Ui Jo.

"They have a lot of good players, they are composed and technically, tactically much above average for Asian players," said Schrock. "We are happy with the performance, of course we hoped for a draw or a win, but we couldn't get it and we have to take it.

"After a game like this you will be having one teary eye and one which is okay with the result and with the performance. Korea is an outstanding team in Asia and everyone knows it, so we can be happy with that."

The Philippines were also competing without arguably their best player in goalkeeper Neil Etheridge who remained with Cardiff City to aid their battle against Premier League relegation.

With the exception of Strauss, the youngest in the squad at 22 who plays for Erzgebirge Aue in the German second division, the rest of the German-born contingent are with Philippine champions Ceres Negros.

And not everyone who could play for the Philippines chooses to do so - Bayern Munich's Austrian star David Alaba would have been eligible through his mother, as would Paris Saint-Germain and France goalkeeper Alphonse Areola who has Filipine heritage.

But with football development in the Philippines still limited and the league boasting only a handful of teams, European training has proved crucial in making the national team competitive.

They remain one of the lower-ranked teams in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at 116th but last year Ceres Negros stunned the Australian side Brisbane Roar in an Asian Champions League qualifier before succumbing in a play-off.

China are up next for the Philippines in Abu Dhabi on Friday before they conclude against fellow tournament newcomers Kyrgyzstan back in Dubai on January 18.

"We have confidence, that's why we qualified in the first place, and we believe always in ourselves to upset someone and be annoying to the other teams," said Schrock.

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