Favorable draw for Malditas in AFC Asian Cup
It was always going to be a tough draw either way for the Philippines in the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
But the Malditas got a slice of good fortune when they landed in Group A together with Southeast Asian powerhouse Thailand, host Jordan and 13th ranked China in their maiden appearance in the prestigious tournament in April next year.
The draw held at the King Hussein bin Talal Convention Center in the Dead Sea last Saturday night saw former World Cup winner Japan, Australia, Korea Republic and Vietnam in Group B.
But with three of the four top-ranked teams in the competition in the other group, the Malditas’ chances of surviving the group stage actually look good.
Malditas co-captain Inna Palacios is upbeat of the team’s chances following the draw.
“We see light and hope to make the next round,” said Palacios. “But again, it’s not going to be an easy journey. It never will. Proper preparation is crucial here.”
Still, they will be facing their toughest test yet in the Asian Cup, where the Top Five teams will actually make the Womens World Cup in France in 2019.
Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta hopes the country will rally around the Malditas as they seek a World Cup berth next year.
“We are happy with the outcome of the draw and look forward to the opportunity to bring honor to our country,” said Araneta, who has taken charge of the preparations for the tournament.
“We call on all true supporters of Philippine Football to come together to help make the World Cup Qualification a reality. In 2010, the Miracle in Hanoi brought us all together to support the men’s national team. Now is the time for Women’s football to take us to the next level.”
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