Philippines beats New Zealand in historic Women’s World Cup first win
WELLINGTON–The Philippines claimed a historic first World Cup win on Tuesday as it stunned co-host New Zealand 1-0 thanks to a first-half Sarina Bolden header.
New Zealand created a string of second-half chances and had a goal disallowed but the Philippines held on for a famous win in front of 32,357 in Wellington, New Zealand.
It was the Philippines’ first victory at either a men’s or women’s World Cup and blows Group A wide open.
“I can’t believe what we have achieved,” said the tearful Philippines’ midfielder Sara Eggesvik. “It shows that it’s possible to do something big.”
His unfancied Filipinas team, beaten 2-0 by Switzerland on their World Cup debut, were as good as their word.
“I’ve got everyone else’s tears all over my eyes, it’s so emotional,” Alen Stajcic said. “You saw how long New Zealand had to wait for its first win — six World Cups — and (for Philippines) to get it today was incredible.
“We made our own luck but we also had a lot of luck. New Zealand were on the front foot the whole game and deserved something. But football is cruel sometimes.”
They scored the only goal after 24 minutes to stun the home crowd.
After New Zealand conceded a free-kick, Sarina Bolden out-jumped the home defense to head the ball at home goalkeeper Victoria Esson, who could only watch in horror as her attempted parry looped over her into the net.
This was a better display from the Filipinas–ranked 46th in the world, 20 places below New Zealand–compared to their opening defeat to Switzerland.
In contrast, New Zealand showed little of the self-confidence which carried them past Norway for its first World Cup win at the 16th try.
“It’s so heartbreaking for everyone in this team,” said New Zealand’s Czech coach Jitka Klimkova. “We played to win and it didn’t go our way. We were fighting until the end, but it wasn’t enough.”
Defender Katie Bowen sent a shot wide to the left in the 38th minute and co-captain Ria Percival’s shot rolled straight at the Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel in first-half stoppage time.
It could have been 2-0 at the break for the Philippines had forward Katrina Guillou got her shot on target just before the half-time whistle.
Klimkova threw on Celtic midfielder Olivia Chance and veteran Annalie Longo as the New Zealand Football Ferns created a number of second-half chances.
In the 58th minute, defender C.J. Bott looped a cross into the box but Hannah Wilkinson, the hero of New Zealand’s opening win on Thursday, sent her header over the bar.
Ten minutes later, Wilkinson did well to drag the ball back from the byline and crossed for forward Jacqui Hand to head it into the net, only for the referee to call it back for offside.
In a frenetic finish, Philippines striker Carleigh Frilles also got the ball into net from an offside position and New Zealand’s Grace Jale was foiled from close range by a fine McDaniel save.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) July 25, 2023
With time running out, New Zealand pushed hard for an equalizer but failed to find its way past the resolute Philippine defense.
New Zealand had been ascendant in the first 20 minutes. It had 80% of possession, 74 completed passes to 11, five early shots on goal and it seemed inevitable the goals would come that would carry them into the next round for the first time.
It ended with 67% possession and nine shots on goal to three but it wasn’t enough. California-born goalkeeper McDaniel was magnificent for the Philippines, called on to make athletic saves including two in second-half stoppage time. She was named Player of the Match.
“It means everything to us,” said Olivia McDaniel. “I think we really put our head down and we knew what was coming at us tonight.”
New Zealand must find a way to win against Switzerland to keep alive its tournament hopes. Now the Philippines has made history and it can look, as New Zealand did, for transformation in the profile and support for their team.
“We were dominating the game tonight, we were keeping the ball,” Klimkova said. “There were too many unforced turnovers. We didn’t see those turnovers in our game against Norway.”
“We can be more prepared against Switzerland. The tournament is not over yet — we’ll keep fighting.”
Spots in the next stage will be on the line when New Zealand plays Switzerland in Dunedin and Philippines plays Norway in Auckland on Sunday.