Bolden says tough task ahead for PH, but Filipinas ready to fight | Inquirer Sports
WORLD CUP

Bolden says tough task ahead for PH, but Filipinas ready to fight

Sarina Bolden swears that the Filipinas will go into the World Cup with a winning mentality. —AFF PHOTO

Sarina Bolden swears that the Filipinas will go into the World Cup with a winning mentality. —AFF PHOTO

The Filipinas aren’t sure yet if their games are going to be aired on local television. But they’re out to show they’re a team to watch out for—at least to the three teams it is grouped with in a historic appearance in football’s grandest stage.

Sarina Bolden admitted that all three opponents that the Philippine women’s football team will face in its maiden Fifa (International Federation of Association Football) Women’s World Cup stint are going to be a handful.

“We’re not going into these games thinking it’s going to be easy, because it’s going to be very far from easy,” the top Filipinas striker said in an interview posted recently on Fifa’s official website.

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But that’s about all she’s going to concede. Matches? Never. Not even the one against group favorite Norway.

“I think everyone is beatable, and I know that might sound weird coming from the least likely team to do damage in the World Cup,” she said. “But everyone is beatable and we’re going to go into it with the mindset that we can beat Norway.”

The Philippines is also grouped with Switzerland and cohost New Zealand, making the bid to make it out of the group stage a tall order.

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And with no takers for TV airing rights of the tournament here in the country, Filipinos might have to rely on illegal live streamers to cheer for the Filipinas.

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Bolden is banking on some of the positives they had gained throughout their lengthy buildup to produce suprising outcomes.

The Filipinas are now in Sydney, Australia, for the final phase of preparations for the World Cup before heading to New Zealand less than two weeks before opening their campaign.

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Switzerland will be the first for the Philippines on July 21 in Dunedin, and Bolden said having played in the Pinatar Cup last February will be a big help.

In the tournament held in Spain, coach Alen Stajcic’s squad lost all three games to Wales (1-0), Scotland (2-1) and Iceland (5-0).

New Zealand is a familiar opponent for the Filipinas, who they faced in a friendly last September in the United States. The game saw New Zealand take a 2-1 win but not after the Philippines took a halftime lead on Bolden’s goal.

Both teams meet again on July 25 in Wellington, with the Football Ferns expected to play before thousands of home supporters.

“Luckily we’ve had a little bit of experience against them,” Bolden said of New Zealand. “We got good competition and experience playing against them. I think we can definitely make our mark, but it’s not going to be easy.

“Switzerland are another highly-quality team … We were just talking about how they might be similar to Scotland or Wales, two teams we just played. We lost both games, but they weren’t blowouts, so it gives us confidence that we’re definitely going to make our mark when we play Switzerland,” she added.

World No. 12 Norway is favored to top the group.

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“Obviously that is probably going to be our toughest game of the group stage, but it’s going to be a really great opportunity to even play a team like that,” she said. INQ

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