Neil Etheridge was proud of his Azkals’ performance despite the 0-2 loss to Vietnam in the second round of the 2026 FIFA World Cup AFC qualification tournament Thursday at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Etheridge did his best to keep a clean sheet for the Philippines but Vietnam was just too good.
His defense failed him for the first goal, while the second one was a clinical finish in stoppage time.
“Apart from the result, I thought we played very well. We had a game plan. We knew that Vietnam were a very good team and for majority of the game, we kept them at bay,” said the 33-year-old Birmingham City stopper.
“We didn’t give them many chances, to be honest. Of course, we conceded in the last minute but I’m proud of the team that we went for it in the end. We didn’t just sit back and accept the loss,” he furthered.
“I think we played well. We had chances to really score goals and get a draw or maybe a win. I think Vietnam did not expect that performance from us.”
Etheridge remains upbeat despite the setback. He and his teammates played in front of the largest crowd in Rizal Memorial in years as there were 10,378 fans in attendance.
The Azkals hope to bounce back when they take on Indonesia this Tuesday, and the former Cardiff City stopper is hoping for more of the same in terms of the atmosphere he played in tonight.
“The atmosphere was amazing. Of course, we’ve been longing for supporters to come out and obviously we’re very happy with the 10k strong campaign,” he said.
“It was fantastic and obviously we want this to continue for our game again on Tuesday and the upcoming games we have in the future.”