Alen Stajcic, Philippines brace for 'wounded animal' Norway in Women's World Cup | Inquirer Sports

Alen Stajcic, Philippines brace for ‘wounded animal’ Norway in Women’s World Cup

Alen Stajcic Katrina Guillou Women's World Cup Philippines

Philippines’ head coach Alen Stajcic talks with Philippines’ Katrina Guillou during the Women’s World Cup Group A soccer match between the Philippines and Switzerland in Dunedin, New Zealand, Friday, July 21, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand—Coach Alen Stajcic warned that Norway could still show its true billing despite a conflict-marred campaign when the Philippines face the Scandinavian nation on Sunday for a spot in the round-of-16 of the Fifa Women’s World Cup.

Stajcic said the Filipinas remain at a disadvantage going into the crucial Group A match at Eden Park here, even if Norway has produced just one point in two matches.

“I think every team has their issues and because they’re maybe publicized and we knew that stuff is a little bit exaggerated,” Stajcic said after Friday’s training at Olympic Park.

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“But they’re wounded animals as well. They would have taken a hit to their pride, they can come out fighting and they’re not champions for no reason.”

Norway began the tournament with a 1-0 loss to co-host New Zealand here before things unraveled in a scoreless draw to Switzerland in Hamilton.

In that game, Ada Hegerberg left before the opening whistle which the former Ballon d’Or winner said was due to a groin injury sustained while sprinting after the traditional team photo opportunity.

Caroline Graham Hansen also expressed concerns over her role, or lack thereof, to Norwegian media after coming off the bench near the hour mark of the previous match.

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“We don’t know what’s going on in their camp,” Stajcic said. “But as everyone knows, you need to knock a champion and [Hegerberg] a champion. And you don’t get player of the world awards unless you’re an amazing footballer.

“And we got a lot of respect for those individuals and their team,” he added.

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The Filipinas must win or settle for a tie plus see New Zealand lose to Switzerland in order to reach the knockout stage.

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TAGS: Alen Stajcic, Fifa Women’s World Cup

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