Home » Blog » Women’s World Cup: Euphoria in Philippines After Historic Campaign
Asia Global News News Sports

Women’s World Cup: Euphoria in Philippines After Historic Campaign

The Philippines has bowed out of the Women’s World Cup after a euphoric campaign that united a country where football is not the national sport.

It was a “magical” debut that saw the country’s first World Cup goal and gave birth to new sport idols, the Philippine Football Federation said.

The Filipinas lost to Norway 6-0 on Sunday, five days after handing hosts New Zealand a shock 1-0 loss.

Filipinos cheered their new sports heroes, who vowed to return stronger.

Coach Alen Stajcic praised the team, many of whom are Filipino-American, for punching “so far above their weight”.

“They are a classy team and they picked us apart. We tried hard all the way to the end and I am proud of the heart and spirit of our team,” he said.

Striker Sarina Bolden, who scored the country’s historic first World Cup goal during the match with New Zealand, said on Sunday: “As is how football goes, things [don’t always] go in your way.”

“In the New Zealand game, everything was going in our way but now we feel the pain of things not going in our way. And we just learn and we grow from here,” she said.

The Filipinas’ supporters showed up in full force on Sunday, making up the majority of the 35,000 spectators at New Zealand’s national stadium.

Back home in the Philippines, the country’s largest shopping mall operator, SM Supermalls, organised viewing parties that attracted large crowds despite monsoon rains.

Supporters flooded social media with praises and encouragement.

“Herstory was made because of you, Filipinas! Thank you for raising our flag and making us feel the joy of being Pinoy. We’re proud of you,” Filipino fast-food chain Jollibee posted on Facebook. Pinoy is slang for Filipino.

“The Philippines will forever be one of the stories of the [2023 Women’s World Cup],” wrote Instagram user Junn Monte De Ramos.

Quinley Mirielle Quezada (L) of Philippines Women soccer team and Tuva Hansen (R) of Norway Women Soccer team seen in action during the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 match between Philippines and Norway at Eden Park
Image caption,The Filipinas lost to Norway 6-0 on Sunday

“It doesn’t matter that they haven’t qualified for the knockout stage. They’ve inspired millions of Filipino female footballers back home… which is a far greater victory,” he wrote.

The Philippines fell behind early on Sunday night after three goals to Norway in the first half. An own goal and a penalty widened Norway’s lead to 5-0 early in the second half.

The Filipinas were overwhelmed 6-0 by the end of the match, bowing out of their historic World Cup campaign with one win and two losses, while Norway advances to the round-of-16.

The Philippine Football Federation said the team’s “magical journey” in the World Cup is “just the beginning”.

Mr Stajcic has called on Filipino sports authorities to increase investments in football to give the country a stronger shot in future tournaments, AFP reported.

Since the 49-year-old was appointed as head coach in late 2021, the Filipinas’ have jumped from 68th in the FIFA world rankings to their current and best-ever 46th place.

Former player Camille Rodriguez has also urged sponsors to continue supporting the Filipinas so that their World Cup appearance will not be a one-off.

“It shouldn’t just be in this World Cup that we do things right, but in the days after the World Cup,” she said in a report by local media company ABS-CBN.

Football is a niche sport in the Philippines where the most popular sports are basketball, due to the US occupation, and boxing, buoyed by superstars like Manny Pacquiao.

The Filipinas’ World Cup campaign has reignited interest in football, as seen in a jump on internet searches for the team and their merchandise.

It is a level of popularity not seen since the 2010s, when the men’s national team, known as the Azkals, went on an Asian winning streak. Unlike the women however, they did not reach the World Cup.

Source : BBC News