The Filipinas did not come to play, they came to compete, and they proved this after earning their first World Cup win against the co-hosts, New Zealand.
With the first-game jitters out of the way, the Philippine Women’s National Football Team (AKA the Filipinas) came into their second Women’s World Cup match as ladies on a mission: to ‘Crash the Party,’ as Coach Alen Stajcic said himself.
And crash the party they did.
Facing co-hosts New Zealand — a team coming from a high thanks to their 1-0 upset over Norway and looking to become the first team in Group A to advance to the knockouts — the Filipinas held their ground in the Wellington Regional Stadium.
After Sarina Bolden scored a goal in the first half to give the Filipinas a 1-0 lead in their second World Cup match, the ladies rallied together defensively to keep the co-hosts at bay, to pull off a major upset on the biggest football stage in the world.
Here’s how the Filipinas’ 1-0 World Cup victory went down.
Soon after the first whistle, World No. 26 New Zealand was quick to take control of the game. Dominating possession, the home team forced the visitors to rely on their defensive structure, which the Philippines managed to successfully pull off, making important clearances to break up the Ferns’ links in the box.
As New Zealand continued to create opportunities to score, the World No. 46 Filipinas worked hard to keep the higher-ranked team at bay — and it turned out well worth the effort, as 23 minutes into the match, the Philippine side found a huge opportunity to score.
Angela Beard fired a long free kick to Sara Eggesvik, who crossed the ball down into the box. Sarina Bolden leaped high to meet the ball perfectly and launch a header right over New Zealand’s keeper to score the Philippines’ first-ever World Cup goal.
The cheers of the Filipino fans in the stands echoed through the stadium as they celebrated the historic moment, and the ladies in white relished the moment.
Following their goal, the Filipinas continued to fight for possession throughout the remainder of the half, looking more confident in their decision-making on the pitch. The debutants came close to scoring another in the closing minutes of the first half, but the home team managed to keep themselves just one goal down heading into halftime.
Holding off for the win
The beginning of the second half resembled that of the first, with New Zealand applying pressure early, but this time, looking to equalize the match.
With the lead, the Filipinas settled into a more defensive structure, killing the Kiwi’s momentum and breaking up their plays to keep the 1-0 lead despite several threats.
The real threat, however, came in the 67th minute when Jaqui Hand jumped to make a header that found the back of the net. However, it was later disallowed as the play was ruled offside after a VAR review — a relief for the Philippines.
In the 86th minute, Carleigh Frilles made a breakaway run and fired a goal that landed in the back of the net. However, the flag came up for another offside goal, and the Filipinas remained with a one-goal lead.
New Zealand continued applying heavy pressure in the dying minutes, even into the five minutes of extra time, but the Philippine side’s defense remained solid, McDaniel making two final crucial saves — and it was their defense that won them their first-ever World Cup match.
At the blow of the final whistle, the Filipinas ran onto the pitch to celebrate. This victory does not only mark their first win on the biggest stage of football, but it also means that they remain in contention to advance out of the group stage.
The Philippines’ final group stage match takes place on July 30 at 3:00 PM, where they will be facing World No. 12 Norway. Will they be able to pull off another upset for a chance to make it to the next round?
Banner image from WSWanderWomen on Twitter.