BANGKOK – Rob Gier has some major responsibilities as vice-captain of the Philippine men’s football team.
And one of them is scouting, specifically assigned to the 31-year-old defender by no less than Azkals team manager Dan Palami.
Of his scouting report about Thailand, the national booters’ first opponent in the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup on Saturday, Gier believes their game on Saturday will all boil down to one defensive lapse.
“I think it will come down to one error, and a lapse on concentration from either side could be the difference in the game,” the Filipino-British booter said.
“In 2010, there were times we had a bad half, but that doesn’t happen anymore. We may have a lapse of concentration from us, but hopefully our attackers could deliver the goods,” he said, referring to strikers Phil Younghusband and Denis Wolf.
Among the holdovers from the 2010 Suzuki Cup squad, Gier believes the Azkals have come a long way since the last two years.
“We have a very good team now,” he said. “There are some areas that need tweaking and we obviously like to keep more ball possession, control the game a little bit more, and obviously as a defender, you want to do as little work as possible.
“It means that your team’s doing well. And I think we’re making a nice, steady progression,” he said.
They may have progressed, but their playing style basically stayed the same, according to Gier.
“To be honest, since 2010 I don’t think the basic philosophy of our tactics hasn’t changed that much in respect that in 2010, we were a counter-attacking team and to some extent, we’re a counter-attacking team at the moment. There have been bits and pieces that have been changed along the way, but basically we’ve just got better at it.”
Gier is hoping he and the rest of the Azkals stick to what they do best in what could be the most crucial game of the group stage.
“The first game will set the tone and hopefully we can get some result. That’s the most important thing in the first game.”