At the 2022 World Cup qualifiers, the Philippines fell into a fairly easy group with rivals China, Syria, Maldives and Guam.
China and Syria are rivals with not too superior qualifications, and Maldives and Guam are underestimated compared to the representative of Southeast Asia.
Before the great opportunity to pass the second qualifying round to win tickets to the next round and also a ticket to the 2023 Asian Cup, Filipino fans are waiting for the home team to make a miracle.
However, they had to receive extremely bad news when the number 1 goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge was injured right before the qualifying round.
Right in the opening match of the English First Division 2019/20 between Cardiff and Wigan, goalkeeper Neil Etheridge suffered a metatarsal injury.
With this injury, the Cardiff goalkeeper will have to spend 6 weeks to treat the injury. This means that the Philippines team will not have the service of the 29-year-old goalkeeper in the first two matches in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in Asia on September 5 and 10.
Thus, in the reception to Syria on September 5 and the trip to Guam 5 days later, Etheridge will not be able to attend.
This is a great loss for the Philippine team and greatly affects the goal of winning the qualifying ticket of the representative from Southeast Asia.