Fans give Philippines a home game atmosphere in New Zealand against co-hosts | Inquirer Sports

Fans give Philippines a home game atmosphere in New Zealand against co-hosts

Philippines New Zealand FIfa WOmen's World Cup

Spectators react as the Philippines teams celebrate following the Women’s World Cup Group A soccer match between New Zealand and the Philippines in Wellington, New Zealand, Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Andrew Cornaga)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand—The Philippine women’s football team felt like it played a virtual home game at the Fifa Women’s World Cup as a heavy presence of its supporters came out to witness the historic 1-0 win over co-host New Zealand here.

The earlier notion of the Filipinas having to deal with a partisan quickly died down as chants of “Go Pilipinas!” and “Isa pa!” reverberate Wellington Regional Stadium, especially after Sarina Bolden scored the only goal of the match in the 24th minute.

Thirty-two thousand fans attended the landmark match that made the Filipinas the first team to produce a first-ever win during their maiden Fifa World Cup appearance.

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It was a festive atmosphere even a couple of hours before kickoff, with some members of the Filipino community here arriving in Ati-Atihan costumes and shouting “Hala Bira Pilipinas!”

One Sydney-based Filipino also came to Wellington sporting a salakot (traditional Philippine hat) and a replica of the Philippine Azkals shirt.

The large Filipino audience also reflected on the merchandise sales at Fifa World Cup stores inside the venues, with Philippine-themed items to combat the cold weather like scarves and bonnets to combat the cold weather selling out.

A handful of Manila-based scribes also caught up with Ryan Agoncillo and wife Judy Ann Santos-Agoncillo who were joined by family and friends.

The E.A.T. host, who was even doing a Facebook live outside the venue, said their children’s interest in the sport prompted their desire to witness the rare occasion.

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TAGS: Fifa Women’s World Cup

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