MANILA, Philippines–Stephan Schrock is set to play his final international match on Tuesday when the Philippine Azkals wrapped up their Asean Football Federation (AFF) Mitsubishi Electric Cup campaign against Indonesia at Rizal Memorial Stadium.
Schrock made the announcement during a pre-match press conference on the eve of the match that will serve as a non-bearing one for the Azkals after missing out on a semifinals berth after losing two of three in the group stage.
“As you know in football, nothing is for sure, but 99 percent, this would be my last game for the national team,” Schrock said. The 36-year-old is expected to feature for his 57th cap for the Philippines spanning 11 years.
Schrock made his Azkals debut in 2011 against Sri Lanka in the first round of the Fifa World Cup Qualifiers. His first international goal came in the second round of the said qualifiers when he fired a strike late in the first half of the Azkals’ second leg match against Kuwait before a big crowd at Rizal Memorial.
He also scored the Azkals’ only goal during the country’s maiden stint in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup in the United Arab Emirates that came against Kyrgyzstan in the final group stage match. Schrock also appeared in the 2019 and the pandemic-delayed 2021 Southeast Asian Games as an overage player.
But Schrock’s national team career also saw a dispute with former coach Thomas Dooley during the latter’s tenure between 2014 to 2018 and for a brief time in 2022 when the midfielder was left out of the Asian Cup Qualifiers squad.
“It’s quite emotional for me,” he continued. “Not many know what I have to sacrifice, how many European contracts I jeopardized to come on for the national team [and] how many moments I missed out with my family so I sacrificed a lot.
“There’s a time when you want to have it in your own hands. And given that I was selected in the AFC qualifiers, I think it’s a good time to step down and to enjoy the last 90 minutes of my Azkals career.”