The Philippine Women’s National Football Team has made significant strides in the international arena, advancing to the quarterfinals of the 19th Asian Games thanks to two victories in Group E. These wins propelled them to one of the top three second-place positions in the group stage.
Despite coach Mark Torcaso beginning his tenure just a few weeks before the Asiad, the Filipinas have displayed impressive performances. Sarina Bolden contributed a goal in each of their Group E matches, increasing her international goal tally to 25 in 42 appearances.
Additionally, Sara Eggesvik scored a brace against Myanmar, leading the Philippines to a convincing 3-0 victory and securing their passage to the next round.
“I’m glad to help the team go to the next knockout stage. It could have been any of us who scored. I’m glad to get on the scoresheet but it’s always a team effort. I’m glad the team did really well today,” said Eggesvik.
“I got good balls to just tap it in. Good game for us today.”
The victory over Myanmar held special significance because Myanmar had previously defeated the Philippines in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games earlier in the year, effectively ending the Filipinas’ hopes of securing another podium finish in the regional competition.
While revenge was not the primary focus for the Filipinas leading into the match, as qualification for the last eight was at stake, it was undeniably satisfying to achieve two goals with a single victory.
“It’s actually pretty hard to process but if you work hard, put your head down and try and do all the right things, I guess the game will go in your favor.
“It’s nice to get the win back from Myanmar tonight and that was our goal and if that meant going through, that meant going through,” said skipper Hali Long.
The Filipinas’ achievement marks the first time the Philippines has reached the last eight in football since the 1958 edition of the games in Japan when the Azkals triumphed over the host nation to advance to the knockout stage.
Up next for the Philippines is a clash against Japan in the knockout round. While the odds may once again be against the Filipinas, they have consistently demonstrated over the past two years that they are more than capable of upsetting teams ranked higher than them in the world.
“Absolutely amazing,” said Torcaso.
“The girls executed a very good plan today. We set ourselves to score in this game and we scored very well, and we were excellent. I’m grateful to be part of this opportunity and now we progress to the next stage, which is excellent.”