Azkals' FIFA rankings up as PFF releases line-up ahead of September friendlies

The Azkals are now gearing up for the Suzuki Cup by playing against Central Asian opposition (file photo)
By Kevin Estrada

MANILA--The Philippines went up a notch higher in the latest FIFA Rankings for the month of August ahead of their friendly matches with Central Asian opposition to prepare for this year's edition of the AFF Suzuki Cup.

After limping off to their worst downward slide in July, the Azkals are now placed 134th in the latest release of the rankings, but still they remain second-best in Southeast Asia, 14 spots behind defending champions Thailand, who are still the top team in the region.

Argentina remain the world's top team for the fifth month in a row, followed by Belgium, Colombia, World Champions Germany and Copa America holders Chile into the top five.

Meanwhile, Philippine Football Federation Secretary-General Atty. Ed Gastanes confirmed in the PFF's website that Turkmenistan will be the Azkals' opponent in a home friendly on Sept. 2 in Bocaue, followed by their away match with Kyrgyzstan four days later in Bishkek as part of the build-up for ASEAN's showcase event.
Kaya's Junior Muñoz became the new addition to the Azkals lineup. (file photo)
The PFF today also released its 23-man lineup for the September friendlies with Kaya's Junior Muñoz the lone debutante in the team, as club teammate Dominic Del Rosario, Loyola's Jorrel Aristorenas and recently retired Juani Guirado among those excluded from the side that defeated North Korea in their final World Cup Qualifier last March 29.

"I'm surprised humbled and ready to do more for our country," the right-back commented after his surprise inclusion to the Azkals set-up, in which he was the third Kaya player to be called up for the first time, after Del Rosario and Miguel Tanton who both played in the most recent matches of the Azkals. He added that he almost might not make it for the friendly with A-League's Perth Glory after he broke his nose during Kaya's match with rivals Loyola.

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