Filipinas have work cut out for them vs tough group rivals at Fifa Women's World Cup | Inquirer Sports

Filipinas have work cut out for them vs tough group rivals at Fifa Women’s World Cup


Photo from Philippine national women’s football team Twitter

Alex Morgan, Megan Rapinoe and the United States. England or Germany. Unless the Philippine women’s team comes up with a historic run, it isn’t running into the biggest countries or teams in the world during the squad’s maiden appearance in the Fifa (International Association Football Federation) Women’s World Cup.

But that’s not saying the Filipinas won’t be squaring off against teams and standouts of note.


Switzerland’s Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, New Zealand’s Ali Riley and Norway’s Ada Hegerberg are among the outstanding footballers the Filipinas will try to contain during the course of their milestone World Cup campaign which starts Friday.


All three teams coach Alen Stajcic’s side will face in Group A carry both quality and history playing in women’s football’s biggest showpiece—and the Filipinas are going to have to work cut out in the New Zealand cities of Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland.

Switzerland will be the Philippines’ first match on Friday and the European side is entering the 2023 edition as just a two-time World Cup participant.

Leading the Swiss squad is Crnogorcevic, who holds the the country’s record by a women’s booter for most caps with 145 and most goals with 70. The 32-year-old has a unique role of playing not just as a poacher but also as a defender at right back.

Forwards Fabienne Humm and the popular Alisha Lehmann, who has more than 13 million followers on Instagram, Ramona Bachmann and Coumba Sow are other Swiss players the Philippines will be keeping its eyes on.

2-1 in friendly

It will be the first-ever time that the Filipinas take on Switzerland, but they’ll be going to the July 25 clash against host New Zealand with a little knowledge of their foe, having played the Kiwis in a friendly held last year in California.

The Filipinas fell, 2-1, but not before taking a halftime lead on Sarina Bolden’s goal off Sara Eggesvik’s pass. But the lead was short-lived as they conceded an equalizing penalty and a winner from Riley late in the second half.


Riley is perhaps the most popular player of the Football Ferns. The American-born defender has 152 appearances since her debut in 2007, including four World Cup stints.

Ria Percival and Hannah Wilkinson are other players eager to give New Zealand a first-ever World Cup win, especially in front of home supporters.

The Kiwis begin their campaign Thursday against Norway, the odds-on favorite to top the group. The Philippines will meet the 1995 World Cup winner on July 30.

Hegerberg carries impressive credentials. She is the first winner of the Ballon d’Or Feminin, given by France Football to the best woman player of the year and has scored 46 goals in 73 matches in a Norwegian shirt. She is making her World Cup return after missing the 2019 edition.

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Other major figures are Caroline Graham Hansen and Frida Maanum as Norway aims to improve on its quarterfinal finish.


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TAGS: Fifa Women’s World Cup, Filipinas

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