Philippines falls to Switzerland in its Fifa Women’s World Cup debut
DUNEDIN, New Zealand–Switzerland made a winning start to its Fifa Women’s World Cup campaign with a 2-0 victory over debutant Philippines at Dunedin Stadium on Friday, thanks to Ramona Bachmann’s first-half penalty and a close-range effort from Seraina Piubel.
Inka Grings’ side was awarded a penalty by VAR after midfielder Coumba Sow was caught by a stray boot from Jessika Cowart in the box late in the first half, with forward Bachmann coolly slotting the ball past goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.
“I wasn’t that nervous, but I knew it was an important moment,” Bachmann told reporters.
“I knew that it would be important for our team to get to half-time with a 1-0 so I was really focused and I obviously tried to score, but I feel quite confident in shooting penalties. So I was really calm.”
The Filipinas, coached by former Matildas manager Alen Stajcic, made history as they became the first team from their country – male or female – to appear at the finals of a global football tournament.
And they were denied an early opener when midfielder Katrina Guillou’s strike was ruled out for offside.
Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, Switzerland’s top scorer and most capped player, fired over from close range before Bachmann’s penalty put them ahead.
Switzerland dominated the second half and deservedly doubled its lead through midfielder Piubel, who smashed home in the 64th minute after McDaniel denied Crnogorcevic and Sow.
“If it’s a VAR decision – from my understanding – it’s supposed to be a clear and obvious error,” Stajcic said of the penalty. “I didn’t see the replay.
“There’s no doubt they are the better team, and they should be. I was really proud of the spirit that our team showed. I think we showed that we can be competitive.
“To come to this level and play against players from Europe, against a team like that is miraculous.”
There were plenty of empty seats in the 30,000-capacity stadium on Friday, despite FIFA giving away 20,000 free tickets for games in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Dunedin amid concerns about the slow pace of sales in New Zealand.
Switzerland top Group A on goal difference ahead of co-host New Zealand, which upset Norway 1-0 on Thursday.