First impressions – What changed in the Azkals when Sven-Goran Eriksson took charge
And now that the biggest biennial soccer tournament of Southeast Asia has begun, with the Azkals now completing two fixtures, here are the first noticeable impact that the experienced gaffer has had on the Philippine national football team.
1. A switch to Eriksson’s favourite 4-4-2 system
Sven-Goran Eriksson has been a staunch believer of the 4-4-2 formation which contrasts to Scott Cooper’s 3-5-2 setup when the latter was in charge of the Philippines as their temporary head coach in two friendlies against Oman and Bahrain.
Eriksson is renowned for sticking to such a system even during his tenure with England’s Three Lions.
In both matches against Singapore and Timor-Leste, the same formation has been evident. Although in those two matches, the performances have been contrasting, despite both ending with wins.
The match against Singapore has been well-received by fans for being able to hold off Singapore’s disciplined yet direct approach, particularly on the counter, while the match against Timor-Leste has raised some worry with regards to how the defence had turned off late in the second half that brought the opposition back in contention until the final whistle.
Whether such a setup would eventually bring the Azkals to unprecedented heights is yet to be seen with only two games in the bag. But at this moment, it seems to be getting the results.