Group stage records broken, but Philippines remain focused on World Cup prize

-

The last week has been nothing short of historic for the Philippines Women’s national football team.

After Chandler McDaniel scored in the 81st minute against Thailand last Friday, they were able to defeat their rivals for the first time.

A 6-0 victory against Indonesia on Thursday saw them collect their most wins in a single tournament, record their biggest AFC Asian Cup victory and concede their least amount of goals in a group stage.

Whilst every record broken in this dominant fashion is one that is important and should be celebrated, there in one first that will make coach Alen Stajcic and his team the proudest.

Embed from Getty Images

With their 6-0 victory, the team from Southeast Asia was able to make the knockout rounds of the AFC Asian Cup for the first time.

Whilst they were able to make the fifth-place playoff last tournament, this is the first time that they head to the knockout phase still in the hunt for the cup itself.

Whilst the group stage was an incredible success, there is one final record that everyone inside the camp, alongside supporters around the world, would like to break in the next week.

They want to achieve what they set out to do all the way back in October at the beginning of their training camp, qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup for the first time.

Embed from Getty Images

The victory against Indonesia saw them seal second place in Group B, meaning that Chinese Taipei is their quarter-final opponent.

A victory in this match will see them achieve their goal, whilst a loss could see them play South Korea or partake in a round robin qualification tournament.

For Stajcic, the confidence is certainly there that this team can not only win their quarter-final and qualify for the World Cup, but also continue on in the competition for potential gold.

Looking ahead to their game against Chinese Taipei, Stajcic knows that it will be one of their hardest fixtures to date, with both teams likely to feel the pressure considering the prize of victory.

Embed from Getty Images

He is, however, full of confidence after seeing his side constantly improve over just the last three matches.

“This team just keeps raising the bar,” he said.

“I think for both teams, Chinese Taipei haven’t been to a World Cup for a very long time. I think it is going to be a really even game.”

For captain Tahnai Annis, who herself scored two long-range goals on Thursday night to seal second place, it’s crucial that her side remains calm heading into the second phase of the competition.

“We need to stay present in the moment,” she said.

Embed from Getty Images

“We just need to remember all of the things that we have accomplished so far, take that with us and run with it.”

When asked about the source of this recent success and the excitement levels heading into the knockout rounds, Annis was quick to point out, amongst other things, the large amount of time that the team has spent as a squad.

In total, they have amassed over three months between their training camp and the tournament itself, meaning the success so far and the prospect of further triumph means so much more.

“We have been blessed to have the opportunity to have so much quality time together. It’s the most that we have ever had, and it really shows,” she said.

Embed from Getty Images

“I just think everyone is really excited.”

After the success of the group stages, the belief is rife amongst the Philippines squad that a World Cup position is certainly attainable.

No matter if it needs to come via defeating Chinese Taipei, South Korea or anyone else, the confidence is there that they can achieve their ultimate goal.

Feature Image Credit: AFC

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

William Makepeace
Current Intern covering Canberra United. Sports Media student at University of Canberra who lives and breathes Football

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required