Alen Stajcic, Filipinas hyperfocused on winning vs Norway in Women's World Cup | Inquirer Sports

Alen Stajcic, Filipinas hyperfocused on winning vs Norway in Women’s World Cup

Philippines Alen Stajcic Fifa Women's World Cup

Philippines’ head coach Alen Stajcic speaks during a press conference at the Eden Park in Auckland on July 29, 2023, ahead of their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup football match against Norway. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

AUCKLAND, New Zealand—Coach Alen Stajcic and the Philippines on winning and winning alone as they shoot for a round-of-16 berth in the Fifa Women’s World Cup against fancied but embattled Norway on Sunday.

The Filipinas need a win over the winners of the 1995 edition at Eden Park here to progress further in the tournament, a thought that was seen as unreachable before the World Cup started.

But the Philippines can also sneak a spot against either Spain or Japan with a victory coupled with a loss by co-host New Zealand to Switzerland in the other Group A match that will be held simultaneously in Dunedin.

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Philippines New Zealand FIfa WOmen's World Cup

The Philippines celebrate their victory following the Women’s World Cup Group A soccer match between New Zealand and Philippines in Wellington, New Zealand, Tuesday, July 25, 2023. (AP Photo/Alysa Rubin)

“We treat every game the same,” Stajcic said. “I don’t care if we play Norway, I don’t care if we play America, I don’t care if we play Myanmar or Hong Kong, we had so many challenges the last 18 months and every single game is the same preparation.

“So it’s not really relevant, whether we’re playing for life or death, or Norway, or anyone or we need to win or we need to draw, we’re out there to win every game,” he added.

Switzerland leads the group with four points followed by New Zealand and the Philippines, who are both at three apiece, and Norway with just a point in hand, potentially leaving the climax of Sunday’s matches with plenty of drama.

The Filipinas spent the eve of the match getting a feel of the 61,000-seat venue, with defender Jessika Cowart joining Stajcic at the podium for their 20-minute talk with mostly reporters from Manila.

The team then traveled to Waiketere Stadium where they held their afternoon session.

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TAGS: Alen Stajcic, Fifa Women’s World Cup, Filipinas

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