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The Dossier presents Philippines vs North Korea preview

By Kevin Estrada

WELCOME back to The Dossier, and today, we'll discuss the preview of today's friendly between the Azkals and North Korea.

This will be the second time they play each other this year, after the Azkals came from a goal down to stun them in their final World Cup Qualifier in Juani's swansong last March.

With the Suzuki Cup in mind let's ponder on what will the match be decided on.

We meet again. The Azkals and North Korea are gonna meet since their epic encouter in Rizal more than six months ago. (Brosi Gonzales)
To Begin..
The East Asians are ranked 118 in the world per FIFA, as the Azkals are only just seven steps lower than them but the two WCQ matches between them are already close contests that proves that those rankings are merely just a number.

But then on, a lot has changed for the sides since. So let's look at it while we can.

The build-up

Both sides are coming from contrasting losses in the past week, as the Azkals lost to Bahrain in Rizal Memorial last Friday night and North Korea surprisingly lost away to Vietnam, the first of Jørn Andersen in his fourth match in charge of the Hermit Kingdom the day before after winning two and drawing one in their August tour of the Middle East since taking over from Kim Chang-Bok last May.

With the Norwegian in attendance in the VIP room of Rizal Memorial, he had a keen eye already on super-sub Mike Ott who scored just five minutes in his debut last Friday. By the looks of it, they will have to put more trees in their backline to stop our attacking tracks.

Mike Ott will be marked closely by the NoKor backline after his second-half showing last Friday.
Azkals gaffer Thomas Dooley however will have  a taller assignment in Pak Kwang-Ryong, with the 6'4" forward bagged a brace in their loss to the Vietnamese Thursday last week. The Swiss-based marksman already played here in the WCQ last March 29 but was silenced by Amani Aguinaldo and Luke Woodland as they are expected to have an improved showing defensively after Friday's so-so performance.

Any results?
I would see this match in a stalemate, partly because of the bearings this match had, as well as the build-up to the Suzuki Cup. But if the Azkals want to get the win here in front of the fans before November comes, they would have to exert more pressure in the North Korea backline. In short, the have to score first.

Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada