On heels of painful SEA Games exit, Filipinas go full focus on World Cup bid
The Filipinas will have things to ponder going into the final two months of preparations for the Fifa (International Federation of Association Football) Women’s World Cup after suffering an early exit in the 32nd Cambodia Southeast Asian Games.
Once they have licked their wounds after missing out on a semifinals berth in the regional meet, the Filipinas resume their full focus on women’s football’s ultimate showcase, with the way it performed in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, among the things to be addressed.
Coach Alen Stajcic’s side was shown the door after finishing third in Group A despite on level terms with defending champion Vietnam and Myanmar at six points apiece.
The Philippines defeated Vietnam, 2-1, at RSN Stadium in the Cambodian capital but Myanmar posted a 5-1 win over group bottom feeder Malaysia in the other match to join the tournament holders to the next round.
An inferior goal difference sent the Filipinas packing after a campaign that started with a 1-0 loss to Myanmar on a penalty late in the second half, a result that eventually had an effect in the team’s eventual fate.
The Filipinas also had to scrap their way before defeating lowly Malaysia, 1-0, on a last-gasp header by Sarina Bolden that saved them from a frustrating draw.
Bolden and Hali Long, who broke the tie with an 83rd-minute header, accounted for the goals that enabled the Filipinas to produce another win over Vietnam, which is also playing in the World Cup in July.
Friendlies are being lined up for the next international window in June at the earliest, perhaps the final dress rehearsal before the squad heads to New Zealand for the World Cup.