A 0-6 loss to Norway means the Philippines are out of the Women’s World Cup, but the Filipinas have much to be proud of.
The standings of Group A of the Women’s World Cup were as tight as they come, and the Philippines and Norway came into their match against one another both looking to secure a spot in the next round of the tournament.
Norway, having lost their opening match against New Zealand and drawing against Switzerland, faced a do-or-die situation, needing a win to have a shot at making it to the next stage. On the other hand, the Filipinas could have gone through with a win or a draw.
Both sides had everything to play for. But in the end, it came out in Norway’s favor. Dominating and controlling much of the match, Norway booked their ticket to the Round of 16 with a 5-0 victory over the Philippines.
Despite the painful loss, the Filipinas still put up a good fight against their higher-ranked opponents — a respectable effort to close out a historic first-ever World Cup appearance.
Here’s how it all went down.
The Philippines opened the match going toe-to-toe with the World No. 12 team, setting the pace in the early minutes of the first half, and creating a few set pieces for a chance to score. But, it wasn’t long before Norway proved why they are among the best teams in the world.
In the sixth minute, Sophie Roman Huag scored the first goal of the match and their team’s first goal of the tournament to gain the early lead. Norway’s drought had ended, and once it finally started to rain for the European team, it poured.
The Norwegians spent the remaining chunk of the first half dominating the Filipinas, creating chance after chance. 17 minutes in, it was Huag once again who scored Norway’s second of the evening with a header off of a deep cross. From there, the Philippines had a mountain to climb.
The Filipinas put in their best efforts to keep their opponents at bay. Norway spent the majority of the half in control of the ball and in the Philippines’ half. Olivia McDaniel, along with the Filipina defenders, put in the work to make important clearances to prevent a bigger deficit.
However, Norway’s Caroline Graham Hansen found a way to break through, taking a powerful strike from outside the penalty area to bring their side up, 3-0.
The Philippines found their first real opportunity to score a goal 38 minutes in, as Angela Beard fired a strike from a distance, though Norwegian keeper Aurora Mikalsen collected the ball with ease to close the first half.
Despite being three goals down, the Filipinas did not let up, still firing with energy and passion, and fueled by the cheers — clearly audible even watching on TV from home — of the Filipino fans in the stands. A momentous task awaited the Philippines after halftime, but the debutants still looked eager to face the charge.
The final half
Things were still not swinging in the Filipinas’ way, even after halftime. Two minutes in, and Alicia Barker, in an attempt to clear the ball, scored an own goal that Olivia McDaniel could not reach, bringing the deficit to four goals.
Just six minutes later, the Philippines’ Jaclyn Sawicki took down Guro Reiten to give Norway a penalty, which Reiten put in the back of the net to make it 5-0 in favor of the Norwegians.
The momentous task just became even more difficult for the Filipinas, especially as they had to play one-woman down after Sofia Harrison was handed a red card in the 65th minute. But, knowing early on that this may very well be their final match of the tournament, the Philippine team poured out everything on the pitch with the remaining minutes they had left.
This second half definitely saw more action on Norway’s side of the pitch, as the Filipinas scrounged up any opportunity to score, even into the 11 minutes of extra time. But despite their best efforts, and with their opponents’ own attempts to widen the gap further, the ladies in white still could not find the back of the net.
Norway, on the other hand, still had more to give even in the dying minutes of the game. Sophie Roman Haug went on to complete her hattrick, scoring her third goal five minutes into extra time to close the match, 6-0 in their favor.
With this result, the Philippines finish at the bottom of Group A, recording three points from their victory against New Zealand.
Despite being outperformed by their opponents in their last group stage match, the Filipinas put up an incredible fight as debutants (and underdogs) of their group. They may have bowed out of the tournament, but in many respects, the Philippines have won in this World Cup, as their performances in all three matches have proven that they were indeed worthy of a spot in the tournament, and that the future of Philippine football is nothing if not bright.
Banner image from Philippine Women’s National Football Team on Facebook.