The Filipinas, the women’s national team of the Philippines, came very close to qualifying for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France over the past ten years. Basketball and boxing have traditionally taken precedence over football in the Philippines. The breakthrough eventually occurred last year. With defensive tenacity and a signature never-say-die mentality on show the whole tournament, the Philippines advanced to the semi-finals of the 2022 AFC Asian Cup, which was sufficient to qualify for the nation’s first World Cup.
The Filipino diaspora, like their male counterparts, has given the nation alternatives everywhere in the world, but especially in the United States. The acquisition of the seasoned former Australia coach Alen Stajcic in 2021 was crucial for victory, as his tournament team management and tactical insight helped the Philippines advance.
New players like Jackie Sawicki, who was born in Canada, and Sara Eggesvik, who was born in Norway, joined the team as well, and they bonded well with the more seasoned members of the group like Hali Long, the team’s defensive anchor, and captain Tahnai Annis. They then won bronze at the Southeast Asian Games, their first medal in 37 years, by defeating Myanmar. A few months later, they won the 2022 AFF Women’s Championships, ending their incredible journey with their first major trophy. But winning the right to play in the World Cup was the biggest accomplishment of all.
Alen Stajcic, a former Matildas coach, joined the club in October 2021 on a three-month contract with the intention of helping them reach Australia and New Zealand without having to go through the playoffs, exceeding expectations. Because of his quick achievement, he gained the admiration of the audience and the hashtag #InStajWeTrust. He has guided Australia to two World Cups and the 2016 Olympic quarterfinals, when they were defeated by hosts Brazil on penalties. His tournament background will be crucial for the rookies, and the other players have nothing but praise for him.
At the time of writing, Sarina Bolden had scored a combined record 22 goals in 37 games. She also successfully converted the shootout penalty that guaranteed World Cup qualifying. With her and her playing style, she sets an example for the other players and motivates them to give it their best as well. Bolden has been a member of Western Sydney Wanderers since 2022 and has played in the US, where she was born, as well as Sweden, Taiwan, and Japan.
Bella Pasion was called up to the senior team as a result of her performance in the holding midfield position. During the AFC Under-20 World Cup qualifiers, the 16-year-old hasn’t exactly looked out of place.
It is maybe not surprising that Bolden would be included in the GOAT conversation. When it comes to female players in the Philippines given how many goals she has scored for her nation. Therefore, when the Instagram account sarina.thegoat.bolden appeared, nobody was even slightly shocked. However, the player made a point of emphasizing that she had not set it up.
State of Football
In a nation where Steph Curry and Manny Pacquiao rule supreme, football coverage, let alone women’s football coverage, is regrettably lacking. However, the Filipinas’ qualification for the World Cup has reignited interest in the sport among girls. Especially in the younger age groups. Most younger categories of summer football leagues now have all-girls teams. The PFF Women’s League, is now in its fourth season and includes 10 participating teams.
Fans had reason to be upbeat when the Philippines were placed in FIFA Women’s World Cup Group A. The teams were fairly evenly matched. Even though the Filipinas avoided some of the women’s football’s traditional heavyweights, it won’t be simple for them to advance. Despite this, they have made every effort to be ready for the competition, playing friendlies in Europe and South America.
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