Stajcic lauds PH’s ‘outstanding’ showing vs Australia despite loss
MANILA, Philippines—Philippine women’s football team coach Alen Stajcic heaped praise on his team despite a 4-0 loss to Australia in the 2022 AFC Asian Cup on Monday.
Stajcic had a lot of reasons to feel good about starting with the Filipinos’ effort against a top-caliber side ranked 53 places higher.
“It was an outstanding performance,” said Stajcic. “I couldn’t be prouder of the way they fought and battled. The effort was outstanding, against a really, truly world class team.”
Behind a stout defensive stand, the Philippines dragged Australia to a scoreless first half.
🎥 HIGHLIGHTS | 🇵🇭 Philippines 0-4 Australia 🇦🇺
— #WAC2022 (@afcasiancup) January 25, 2022
It took the Aussies the 51st minute before breaking the deadlock with Sam Kerr, Australia’s all-time leading international scorer, converting on a header.
“For our players to be able to hold them out for 50 minutes and really only concede off a corner and Sam Kerr, who is probably the best header of a ball in the last 10 to 15 years in women’s football, it just shows the resilience that the team showed,” Stajcic said.
“The fight, the effort. It makes us really proud that we could match that team for so long and keep them at bay.”
Australia earlier walloped Indonesia, 18-0.
Stajcic is very familiar with the Australian side having steered the squad to the World Cup and the Olympics during his coaching stint with the team from 2014 to 2019.
— #WAC2022 (@afcasiancup) January 24, 2022
He is hoping to do the same for the Philippines and while the team still has a long way to do, its Asian Cup campaign shows it has a bright future ahead.
“We proved that we can be a hard team, a tough team to beat, a resilient team. [We] really showed some qualities that can push us to the next level,” Stajcic said.
“For us, we spent three months in the camp, and for us to bridge that gap so quickly is really a phenomenal feat from these players. The country should be immensely proud of what they have achieved today.”
The Philippines, which upset Thailand in the opener on Friday, faces Indonesia on Thursday with a victory likely guaranteeing its spot in the knockout stage.