|With Stephan Schrock at the helm, the Azkals produced huge results this year. Jan Dayrit (file photo)|
MANILA - Without any noticeable movements, the Philippine national football team stayed in 124th place, 23rd in Asia and still 3rd in ASEAN subzone in the last release of FIFA Rankings for 2019 on Thursday.
EAFF E-1 Runners up, Japan finally took over Iran as the best nation in Asia while the champions, Korea Republic settled in 3rd (40th in the world) after climbing by a point.
Vietnam is still at the top spot in ASEAN subzone at 94th while Thailand stayed 116th.
Last year's World Cup 3rd placer Belgium is still the world leader while eventual champion France is still 2nd ranked.
The Philippine XI started their 2019 with their historic stint at the Asian Cup in UAE. Despite non-winning results, their stint was impressive.
They held off Korea Republic in a 0-1 loss but suffered a convincing defeat by China PR, 0-3 and another loss against co-debutant Kyrgyz Republic, 1-3 where Stephan Shrock scored the historic goal for the Philippines in their historic appearance.
The Azkals will leave 2019 currently sitting in 3rd place in Group A of the 2nd Round of Joint 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup Qualifiers, behind China PR and Syria.
The Azkals already closed their deal with Syria with two straight losses which produced in their opening match at Panaad, 2-5 and 0-1 in their last date in Dubai.
The Azkals were able to hold China PR at the home soil into goalless draw, the second ASEAN nation to score at least a point since Indonesia way back in 1957 in the entire history of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, after Neil Etheridge saved the uncovered yet potential game winning attempt of Hao Junmin in the added minutes before the final whistle was blown.
Follow him on Twitter: @GilMoriones