Filipinas tab friendly vs No. 3 Swedes
The Philippine women’s football team was able to squeeze in a match against a fellow Fifa (International Association Football Federation) Women’s World Cup participant, albeit in an unofficial setting, before its maiden campaign in the global football showcase.
Sweden, ranked third in the world rankings, is scheduled to meet the Filipinas on July 17 in Wellington, New Zealand, which would serve as a great chance for coach Alen Stajcic’s squad to get an early feel of how the competition in the World Cup will be.
“It’s a great opportunity for our Filipinas to test themselves against a world-class team before the Fifa Women’s World Cup,” Philippine Football Federation (PFF) general secretary Ed Gastanes said late Tuesday when the match was announced.
Sources said discussions between the PFF and the Swedish Football Association picked up about two weeks ago as World Cup participants were looking to arrange friendlies or unofficial matches against those outside their group.
The PFF described the meeting as an “unofficial closed training match,” meaning that it is likely that the two teams won’t face off in a standard match that has two 45-minute halves.
Regardless, it is the highest-decorated team the Filipinas will face since their historic qualification to one of the biggest sporting events in the world.
Sweden is a perennial contender in almost every major competition, a reason why it is only below the United States and Germany in the Fifa rankings.
The Blaguit placed third during the 2019 World Cup in France, losing to the Netherlands in the semis and defeating England in the consolation match.
At the pandemic-delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics two years ago, Sweden made its way to the final after wins over host Japan and Australia in the knockout stages, before losing to Canada via penalties to settle for silver.
Euro 2022 witnessed a semifinal berth for Sweden, but it couldn’t get past the semifinals after a 4-0 defeat to host England, which went on to win the continental competition.