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Palacios, Long target more success for Filipinas before World Cup

While all eyes are already on the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup this July, the Philippine Women’s National Football Team players are not looking that far ahead.

The Filipinas are set to compete in the Pinatar Cup next month in Spain, the first round of the 2024 Summer Olympic Qualifiers in April, and the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Cambodia this May.

Before they can take on the world’s best, they will need to prove themselves against a variety of teams that would like to bring them down to earth.

“We look at every tournament as an opportunity to better ourselves and beat how we played the last time because you’re only as good as your last game as what we always say,” said veteran goalkeeper Inna Palacios.

“If that opportunity presents itself, we will always do our absolute best to get a medal for the country. Of course, we never stop wanting more. I think everyone in the team — and I can speak for the girls — we want it but then we also know that it’s not gonna come easy and it’s always gonna be hard.”

A year ago, the Filipinas shocked the world by making it to the semifinals of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which booked them a ticket to this year’s World Cup. If that was not enough, they were able to get the bronze medal in the 31st SEA Games, and the gold medal on home soil in the 2022 AFF Women’s Championship.

Just like everything in life, though, things only get tougher moving forward. The Filipinas strive to raise their standards as things will never get easier from this point onwards.

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“As coach Alen (Stajcic) said (that) if you keep climbing, the climb gets harder also. I’m sure everyone would want to achieve much more than what we can but we’re very much grounded and we know how hard it is,” added the former De La Salle University standout.

“We just keep our heads down and we work harder as a group.”

One particular championship that the Filipinas would like to seize for the country is the gold medal in the 32nd SEA Games.

Last time around, the Philippines beat Myanmar to seal the first podium finish in the millennium. The challenge will be to not just go one better but to win the tournament.

The Filipinas, though, will be ready for what lies ahead.

2022-AFC-Womens-Asian-Cup-Philippines-vs-Australia-Hali-Long-2 Palacios, Long target more success for Filipinas before World Cup Filipinas Football News  - philippine sports news


“Obviously, having our first winning bronze for the country, was a very big moment for Philippine women’s football. I don’t think that kind of feeling can be replicated but I think it’s safe to say that all the girls wanna feel that feeling again, that winning feeling even though we didn’t win gold,” said long-time defender Hali Long. “If that’s how bronze felt, how would gold feel? As Alen and I said in India when we were competing to qualify for the World Cup, we kept pushing and pushing and setting the bar higher and higher for ourselves.

“If we didn’t meet that and push all the way through the roof, then we wouldn’t have qualified. We wouldn’t have achieved everything we achieved in February a year ago today.”

Truly, 2022 was a landmark for Philippine women’s football. But that was then and this is now. The players and staff of the Filipinas will look to make bigger strides this year especially since they are bringing the country to the world stage.

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As most people say, it is all in the mind. Whatever happens from this point until the end of the World Cup will be groundbreaking not just for local women’s football but Philippine football in general.

The pressure may be high but they wouldn’t have it any other way.

“That was a very big thing that stuck in my mind and I think a lot of the girls’ minds, which drove our 2022 (campaign) to a really upward progression. But like we have all said time and time again, we can’t stop there. We have to keep pushing,” added Long.

“This is all just a moment of our lives, a moment of our playing careers, but it will last a lifetime for Philippine women’s football. We think about the moment we’re in and apply it to the bigger picture we want. I think our efforts will be fruitful.”

Written By

Lorenzo's a frustrated author who knows a thing or two about Football and Basketball. Went all green from Ortigas to Taft. Supports Liverpool FC, FC Bayern Munich and the Alaska Aces

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