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32nd SEA Games

Alen Stajcic remains optimistic despite narrow miss at SEA Games

In a stunning display of resilience and determination, the Philippine national women’s football team delivered a thrilling upset by defeating defending champion Vietnam with a score of 2-1 at the 32nd Southeast Asian Games’ women’s football tournament.

Although their victory fell short of securing a spot in the semifinals, Alen Stajcic remains unfazed, emphasizing that the experience gained from this setback will only make them stronger as they prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in July.

As the final whistle blew, the exhilaration felt by the Filipinas quickly gave way to bittersweet emotions.

Their top scorers, Sarina Bolden and Hali Long, had demonstrated exceptional skill and determination, only to see their efforts go unrewarded when Myanmar triumphed over Malaysia with a resounding 5-1 victory at the neighboring Old Stadium.

Finishing with an identical win-draw-loss record of 2-0-1, both the Philippines and Myanmar found themselves vying for a spot in the semifinals.

However, it was Myanmar who secured the coveted place alongside Vietnam, thanks to their superior goal difference. Meanwhile, Cambodia and Thailand emerged as the other two semifinalists, setting the stage for an intense battle in the coming matches.

Stajcic, reflecting on the team’s performance, acknowledged that they missed an opportunity to seize an early advantage against Vietnam by not being aggressive enough in the initial stages of the game. Despite this hindsight, he remained proud of his team’s triumph.

“We had our best performance in the tournament, and we saved it for our toughest opponent,” Stajcic remarked.

Undeterred by the disappointment of falling short in the SEA Games, Stajcic emphasized that this setback would have no impact on their preparations for the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. With a composed and determined demeanor, he reaffirmed his confidence in the team’s ability to learn and grow from the experience.

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“This is just another chapter in the journey of an experienced group,” he stated.

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