December 5, 2011

Bend it Like Beckham

I had the opportunity to watch and support the Philippine national football team - the Azkals - as they play a friendly against the recent MLS champs LA Galaxy. The much awaited (and heavily promoted) match-up featured heavyweights from the opponents, including David Beckham, Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane. 

The match, held at the Rizal Memorial Stadium, started around 7:30pm, which is a good thing because there's no sun and heat to worry about. 

It all went well during the first half, with the local side keeping toe-to-toe with the visitors and forward Phil Younghusband scoring one to the crowd's delight (the only other circumstance that the crowd cheered more is whenever Beckham kicks the ball).

The second half though, is a different story. A succession of goals from the visitors wilted the spirit of the Azkals, with the hapless substitute goalkeeper Eduard Scapano allowing 6 goals (Neil Etheridge missed the game due to a club commitment)

All in all, the match - although proving to be a handful for the locals - is a good exposure for the national team, and the almost full stadium (despite the high ticket prices) is a sign that football is finally having a renaissance in the country. There's a talk about Real Madrid being the next one that's coming over, so things are looking up from the pitch.

pics and vids, from top: the match in progress; LA Galaxy scores; Azkals fans came in full force to support the team and gawk at Beckham; the Azkals doing the lap around the stadium; Beckham bends one)

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