'We come to Vietnam to win': Philippines captain

By Hieu Luong   June 4, 2024 | 12:23 am PT
Philippines captain and goalkeeper Neil Etheridge is excited to return to Vietnam after 14 years and hopes to help the team get their first win at the 2026 World Cup qualifiers.

"We came to Vietnam to win," Etheridge told the press at Noi Bai Airport in Hanoi on Monday. "The weather is good and we are looking forward to the match."

The Philippines are the only team that have not won any game in group F of the 2026 World Cup second qualifying round. They are at the bottom with one point after a 1-1 draw against Indonesia. To qualify, Etheridge and his teammates must beat Vietnam and Indonesia, and hope that the latter will also lose against Iraq.

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge at Noi Bai Airport, Hanoi on June 3, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Thu

Goalkeeper Neil Etheridge at Noi Bai Airport, Hanoi on June 3, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Trung Thu

Etheridge and his teammates' desire to win was further motivated when coach Tom Saintfiet replaced Michael Weiss. With the experience of leading many Asian and African teams, the Belgian coach was trusted by the Philippine Football Federation to lead the national team at the end of February.

Vietnam bid farewell to coach Philippe Troussier at the end of March, and replaced him with South Korean coach Kim Sang-sik a month later.

"Vietnam and Philippines have both made changes in management, so the next match will be very interesting," Etheridge said. "Vietnam are a team with many good players and are well organized, but let’s see how they perform with the new coach."

The 33-year-old goalkeeper said Philippines will focus on adapting to the weather and pitch in Vietnam for the match on Thursday.

Etheridge is the only player left from the Philippines' 2-0 win over Vietnam at My Dinh Stadium in the 2010 AFF Cup group stage. That was the Philippines' first victory over Vietnam after 13 encounters.

"I hope the atmosphere at My Dinh Stadium will be repeated on Thursday," Etheridge added.

go to top