National women’s football team defender Hali Long said the performance against Thailand and Australia have raised the level of expectation even higher going into its potential quarterfinal clincher against Indonesia in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
The Pinay booters are heavy favorites to clinch a spot against the Indonesians in their final Group B match set Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India, but Long said taking the foot off the pedal is not an option for them.
“I think the Thailand game set the bar pretty high, and then the Australia game set the bar even higher for ourselves,” Long told writers covering the local football beat in a virtual interview facilitated by the Philippine Football Federation.
“It definitely gave ourselves quite a challenge for this next game to raise that bar even higher regardless of where Indonesia is ranked. I think it has become personal at this point — personal to ourselves, personal to our team as a whole of what we want to show next,” she added.
The Philippines made quite an impression in its opening assignment last week when Chandler McDaniel’s goal sealed a 1-0 win over Thailand in Navi Mumbai, beating the fancied Southeast Asian neighbor for the first time in 13 attempts.
Then, the Pinay squad forced the highly-caliber Australian side scoreless for more than 45 minutes with its gritty defending before succumbing to a 4-0 defeat last Monday in Mumbai.
A win over Indonesia will secure the Philippines’ place in the quarters, with a chance to claim one of the five available slots for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
But Long said the team should be very aware that Indonesia could spoil things despite being beaten 18-0 by Australia and 4-0 by Thailand during the competition.
The Filipinas were also held to a 3-3 draw by Indonesia in the 2018 ASEAN Football Federation Championship in Palembang when the hosts overcame a three-goal deficit.
“We have to be aware that Indonesia knows how we have played the last two games and they’re gonna play like they have nothing to lose,” Long said.
“It’s our turn. We have everything to lose but for me and the rest of my teammates, we don’t let that clout our judgment and clout our reality to what we can do next game,” she added.