Anticipation, pressure build for Filipinas as Fifa Women’s World Cup nears
MANILA, Philippines—With just a few days away from the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup, the Filipinas’ excitement is at an all-time high as they await their turn in history.
The excitement, however, did not just come overnight but has actually stuck with the Philippine women’s football team since that fateful night in January last year.
“We’re super excited. Ever since we got qualified for the world cup we’ve been thinking about the preparation and what we’re up against in joining such a prestigious tournament,” goalkeeper Inna Palacios told Inquirer Sports.
“Now that it’s getting closer, the pressure builds up but we always try to see everything on a positive note.”
Last year, the Filipinas clinched a spot in the Fifa World Cup—the first team from the Philippines to make the showpiece event—after a 4-3 victory over Taiwan in a shootout at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup quarterfinals.
Since then, the Filipinas just kept riding the momentum and they are not planning to stop anytime soon.
Did today's friendlies get you extra excited for the FIFA Women's World Cup? Learn more about the Philippine Women’s National Football Team's journey from our July cover girls Hali Long and Inna Palacios https://t.co/sQV4ZQhiXU
— Preen.ph (@preenph) July 17, 2023
“We’re super excited, not just as a team but as a country. To hear the fanbase, families and all Filipinos supporting us is really exciting and it’s (excitement) building now that time is ticking away,” defender Hali Long said.
The ride, however, has its bumps along the way.
SEA GAMES WOES
One of the key tournaments that the Filipinas took part in this year was the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
But they were unlucky to bring home a medal after an inferior point differential with Vietnam and Myanmar.
They were booted out of the medal rounds after capturing bronze last year in Hanoi, Vietnam.
“Although the SEA Games is a very big and prestigious tournament, we didn’t get the results we wanted like we did last year,” Long said, as she looked at Palacios to find the right words.
After a long pause, they both answered in unison: “It happens.”
Still, Long saw the Filipinas’ SEA Games campaign as part of the team’s learning curve.
“It’s definitely a big learning experience to show that we have a lot more work that can be done, even especially in Southeast Asia.”
For Palacios, the wins and losses are just part of the journey.
“This year has been very busy so far leading up to the World Cup but we’re grateful that it is that way. In the SEA Games, we learned something from there and as a team we’ll learn from it and work harder,” she said.
The Filipinas begin their World Cup bid on Friday against Switzerland. They’re in Group A along with New Zealand and Norway.