For the first time in history, the Philippine national women’s football team is set to compete at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
While some people may still have the outdated idea that women aren’t that good in sports, the past few years have shown the exact opposite. In 2021 alone, several Filipina athletes showed up and out in their respective sports. Among many achievements, Hidilyn Diaz solidified her status in the history books by claiming the country’s first gold medal at the Olympics for weightlifting. Nesthy Petecio out punched and out maneuvered most of her opponents to secure an Olympic silver medal in her division in boxing. While Margielyn Didal didn’t take home a medal, she did raise the country’s flag in skate boarding and became a social media star in the process. And even though 2022 is just getting started, history, or should we say herstory, has been made once more courtesy of the Philippine women’s national football team.
A HISTORIC WIN
History has completely been rewritten! Our first trip to the AFC Women’s Asian Cup semifinals, but more importantly… OUR FIRST TRIP NEXT YEAR TO THE ???? ?????’? ????? ???!!! ?????— #LabanFilipinas ?? (@PilipinasWNFT) January 30, 2022
? #WinTheMoment ? #LabanFilipinas ⚪️ #ParaSaBayan ? #RememberTheGoal pic.twitter.com/tAJ8FF2Z0U
On Sunday, January 30, the national women’s team defeated Taipei with a score of 4-3 during the AFC Women’s Asian Cup quarter final at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India. It was a tense 90-minute match from the get-go with each team constantly battling for the ball. By the time the game reached the time limit, both teams were tied 1-1 which lead to a penalty shootout. What came next was another heart-stopping and anxiety-inducing moment as both Philippines and Taiwan scored goals. But it was the winning shot by Sarina Bolden that landed the historic match win.
With their win, the team, Philippine football, and the country in general, made several historical milestones. First, this will be the first time the national women’s football team will play in the semi-finals of the 2022 AFC Asian Women’s Cup. They are set to go up against South Korea next. Second, the team, who are ranked 64th in the world by FIFA, secured their spot to compete at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 at Australia/New Zealand. This marks the first time the Filipinas, and any team from Philippine football, has competed in a World Cup. Also, their win makes the national women’s football team one of the first teams to be able to book a slot in either the men’s or the women’s World Cup.
Their journey to this moment was already exciting in itself. They began with a 1-0 win against Thailand, making this the first time they have defeated their Thai rivals in over 13 matches. Team Philippines then went on to lose to powerhouse Australia with a score of 0-4. But they rebounded with an impressive 6-0 against Indonesia in their final Group B game to secure a spot in the knockout round.
When it comes to sports in the Philippines, football is usually not high on most people’s list when up against the likes of basketball or boxing. And on the international stage, football hasn’t been a sport that people look for in the country. But the fact that the women’s national football team did that means that the talent is real and it is here. It’s also impressive how some of the sports that Filipina athletes have succeeded are in sports that usually don’t get people’s attention like weightlifting and football. So, this historic win is further proof of the need to invest in sports outside of what is popular because the talent and potential is there.
The national women’s football team’s next game against South Korea will be on Thursday, February 3. Congratulations to the team, their coach Alen Stajcic, and everyone else involved in their success.
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