Filipinas’ rout of Chinese-Taipei catches Australia coach’s attention
MANILA, Philippines–Australia has reasons to be comfortable about having better quality than the Philippines going into their second round match of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sunday.
But its coach, Tony Gustavsson, refused to see it that way, even if the Matildas are going to play before 60,000 fans in Perth and have beaten the Filipinas by a huge scoreline when the two countries last met.
“It will be a tough challenge,” Gustavsson said ahead of the crunch match slated for 3:10 p.m. Manila time at Optus Stadium in Perth, Australia.
The Filipinas’ 4-1 drubbing of Chinese Taipei behind a huge second half led by Sarina Bolden has given the Aussies something to worry about, even if they were a side that came off a semifinal finish in the Fifa (international football federation) Women’s World Cup.
But Australia started the second phase of the Olympic qualifier sweating it out with Iran before producing a 2-0 win after Sam Kerr’s goal gave the hosts the needed cushion.
“It’s a well-organized team, and they work extremely hard,” Gustavsson said of the Filipinas. “And they don’t hesitate to tackle either. There’s some physicality there and that really impresses me.
“And you can see that they are very clear about what they want to do. There’s some impressive character on this team after being one goal down [against Chinese Taipei] and that was a key game for them. And they’re also good on set pieces.”
The AFC Women’s Asian Cup in 2022 saw Australia produce a 4-0 victory over the Philippines in the group stage. But the Filipinas, then-coached by ex-Matildas mentor Alen Stajcic, kept the game scoreless at halftime before the Aussies found an opening.
“We struggled to create something [in the first half], and we finally opened it up after the deadlock,” Gustavsson said.
Gustavsson’s counterpart, Mark Torcaso, will try to steer the Filipinas to a result that would benefit them in their bid to qualify to the third and final round of the qualifier for next year’s Paris Olympics.