All the ‘firsts’ of the Filipinas in their historic Women’s World Cup campaign
Hali Long said the many firsts—regardless if they were beneficial or not—were the reasons why the maiden campaign of the Philippines in the Fifa Women’s World Cup was so special, she described it as an “incredible ride.”
“There’s so many firsts that happened here—our first goal, our first win, our first game, our first card, our first anything. It was all a first for us and you can’t take it away from us,” Long said shortly after the campaign ended with a 6-0 loss to Norway at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand.
With those comments in mind, Inquirer Sports decided to list those breakthroughs—favorable or not—that occurred in the Filipinas’ games against Switzerland, co-host New Zealand and Norway.
FIRST GAME – PHILIPPINES VS SWITZERLAND (JULY 21, 2023)
The Filipinas finally got a taste of Women’s World Cup action when they took on Switzerland at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin before a crowd of more than 13,000.
FIRST PLAYER TO WEAR THE CAPTAIN’S ARMBAND – HALI LONG (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
The role has been a familiar one for the veteran defender, who throughout the competition showed her emotional side during the national anthem. Hali Long would wear the captain’s armband in all three Group A matches.
FIRST STARTING LINEUP (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
Coach Alen Stajcic went with Sarina Bolden and Katrina Guillou up front with Sara Eggesvik, Quinley Quezada and Jaclyn Sawicki at midfield while putting five defenders at the back in Alicia Barker, Long, Jessika Cowart, Sofia Harrison and Angie Beard.
FIRST FREE KICK – SARA EGGESVIK (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
A foul by Switzerland’s Coumba Sow on Sara Eggesvik almost a minute into the debutant’s first match led to the latter’s right-footed free kick from near the halfway line. Her attempt was headed away by Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic. The play continued to set up the…
FIRST SHOT ATTEMPT – JESSIKA COWART (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
Jessika Cowart tried to head the ball off after a lofted pass by Katrina Guillou two minutes into the game. The Filipinas defender’s attempt went too wide to the left.
FIRST FOUL – KATRINA GUILLOU (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
An aerial challenge with a Swiss player after a goal kick by Olivia McDaniel resulted in a foul on Guillou in the 14th minute. It didn’t take a while before…
FIRST OFFSIDE CALL – KATRINA GUILLOU (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
The call in the 15th minute nullified what was a sensational right-footed strike by Katrina Guillou, whose celebration was immediately halted when the linesman signaled that the Filipinas forward was offside. Replays later supported the decision that canceled what would have been a landmark moment.
FIRST YELLOW CARD – SOFIA HARRISON (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
The left back’s challenge on Seraina Piubel in the 38th minute led to the dubious distinction as the first Philippine player to be booked at the grandest stage of women’s football.
FIRST VAR REVIEW – JESSIKA COWART (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
Referee Vincentia Amedome of Togo went to the video monitor more than 40 minutes into the match when Jessika Cowart was battling for possession with Sow inside the box.
FIRST PENALTY CONCEDED – JESSIKA COWART (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
The VAR review eventually prompted Amedome to call for the spot, saying that Cowart fouled Sow, much to the disagreement of many Filipinos at the game and back home who all felt that it was a weak call.
FIRST GOAL CONCEDED – RAMONA BACHMANN (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
Goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel said she had an idea of how Bachmann will fire her shot at the spot, but the Swiss player smashed the ball to the left side which put the Filipinas behind entering the first-half stoppage time.
FIRST SUBSTITUTE – MERYLL SERRANO (VS SWITZERLAND, JULY 21, 2023)
Serrano was the first Philippine player to come on as a substitute at the World Cup when she replaced Eggesvik in the 70th minute.
FIRST LOSS – PHILIPPINES 0, SWITZERLAND 2 (JULY 21, 2023)
The Philippines went down in defeat after Bachmann’s goal and Piubel’s second half rebound after two McDaniel saves from close range. The outcome, however, provided coach Alen Stajcic and the Filipinas some silver linings.
FIRST GOAL – SARINA BOLDEN (VS NEW ZEALAND, JULY 25, 2023)
The Philippine talisman’s header will forever be etched in local football lore after scoring a header in the 24th minute of the match against the co-hosts at Wellington Regional Stadium. Sarina Bolden celebrated intensely as the Filipinas finally got a goal at the world stage.
FIRST ASSIST – SARA EGGESVIK (VS NEW ZEALAND, JULY 25, 2023)
It was Sara Eggesvik’s wide pass from the right, which came after a clearance, allowed Bolden to leap over two defenders and head the ball past the hands of Football Ferns keeper Victoria Esson.
FIRST WIN – PHILIPPINES 1, NEW ZEALAND (JULY 25, 2023)
The scoreline stood until the final whistle and the Filipinas got the full three points before 32,000 fans. But before pulling it off, the Filipinas had to survive some excruciating moments, including a shot by Jacqui Hand that hit the left post, her header that was disallowed due to an offside call against Hannah Wilkinson and some fine saves from McDaniel.
FIRST CLEAN SHEET—OLIVIA MCDANIEL (VS NEW ZEALAND, JULY 25, 2023)
McDaniel’s heroics in the second half, including a fine save that denied New Zealand’s last-ditch attempt at salvaging a draw, allowed the Filipinas to get the full three points and also give the goalkeeper a special award when she came out of the pitch.
FIRST PLAYER OF THE MATCH AWARD—OLIVIA MCDANIEL (VS NEW ZEALAND, JULY 25, 2023)
Many may feel that the award should be handed to Bolden for the goal that put the Filipinas into the history books. But Fifa felt McDaniel’s efforts in keeping the scoreline were enough to hand the honor, which might be a token honor for those who play for the big teams, but a special one for perceived minnows pulling off the unexpected.
FIRST OWN GOAL – ALICIA BARKER (VS NORWAY, JULY 30, 2023)
The right back was in disbelief when her attempt to clear a cross by Frida Maanum went to the ball of the Philippines’ net instead that made it 4-0 Norway, just three minutes into the restart. It was later tallied as the first own goal of the tournament.
FIRST CORNER KICK – ANGIE BEARD (VS NORWAY, JULY 30, 2023)
It took until the lopsided final game of Group A before the Filipinas could win a corner. Angela Beard’s left-footer in the 57th sailed straight into the gloves of Norway keeper Aurora Mikalsen.
FIRST RED CARD – SOFIA HARRISON (VS NORWAY, JULY 30, 2023)
Sofia Harrison hardly had a sweat when she was given a straight red for a challenge on Norway’s Thea Bjelde. The call got an aid from VAR, and referee Marie-Soleil Beaudoin deemed that the hit was enough to hand the booking.