PH bows out of World Cup Qualifiers

Action between the Philippines and Vietnam in Group F of the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifiers on June 6, 2024 at the My Dinh National Stadium in Hanoi, Vietnam. PFF-PMNFT Media

Vietnam broke the Philippines’ hearts in the 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifiers on Thursday, finding a late goal for a 3-2 win at the Mỹ Đình National Stadium in Hanoi.

Pham Tuan Hai scored off a rebound five minutes into stoppage time to put the home side ahead after an action-packed second half that saw the Philippines fail to hold on to a one-goal advantage.

With the loss, the Philippines is now officially eliminated from contention for the FIFA World Cup 2026 as they have only managed one point in five matches in Group F.

“I think the boys deserved a draw,” head coach Tom Saintfiet said after the match. “We need to learn from this.”

Vietnam, now with six points off two wins and three defeats, is still in the hunt for a place in the third round of the World Cup qualifiers.

After squandering a couple of good chances in the first half, the Philippines finally found their goal in the 62nd minute courtesy of Patrick Reichelt, who finished off a counter-attack by cutting past his defender and poking the ball out of Vietnam goal-keeper Dang Van Lam’s reach.

But Vietnam equalized just three minutes later through Nguyen Tien Linh, who was poorly marked as he made a run into the box and converted off a cross by Phan Tuan Tai.

Tien Linh appeared to have given Vietnam the win in the 76th minute, as he rose highest to meet another cross, this time from Phan Tuan Tai, for the header that made it 2-1.

Kevin Ingreso gave the Philippines a lifeline with a minute left in regular time, volleying the ball home off a Jesper Nyholm header.

It was not meant to be for the Filipinos, however. Neil Etheridge made an initial stop on a Nguyen Tuan Anh blast, but the ball fell directly in the path of Pham who struck the match-winner.

“In the first half, Vietnam had more ball possession, but we were more dangerous with our counter-attacks. I think the best result would have been a draw, so I’m very disappointed,” said Saintfiet.

“Naturally, I think Vietnam is a good team, but I’m also very satisfied with the performance of my team,” he added.

The Philippines will conclude its campaign in Group F on Tuesday against Indonesia at the Gelora Bung Karno Stadium in Jakarta, while Vietnam will play Iraq with a place in the third round of the World Cup qualifiers on the line.

Iraq earlier defeated Indonesia, 2-0, to win Group F and advance to the next round of the qualifiers while also sealing their spot in the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.

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