The national women’s football team is fully embracing the opportunity of securing a historic World Cup berth in its quarterfinal match against Taiwan in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
A win on Sunday, Jan. 30 at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India will seal the Pinay booters’ slot in FIFA’s premier women’s event which would arguably be the ultimate reward for the team that made significant strides during the Asian Cup.
“I think what we’re trying to do is staying present in the moment and embrace all the good things that are all happening because of the hard work that we’ve put in during preparations,” captain Tahnai Annis said after Thursday’s 6-0 drubbing of Indonesia.
“But we know that we also have a goal in mind and we’re not finished yet, so we can’t get complacent from where we are,” added Annis, who scored all of her two goals from outside of the box.
Confidence has reached a new level for the Filipinas after the latest result allowed them to seal second spot in Group B and a place in the knockout stage for the first time in the competition’s history.
New coach Alen Stajcic, credited for steering the team to its impressive run of form, hailed his players for continuing to exceed expectations.
“The team keeps raising the bar,” said Stajcic. “Everytime we do something new and create a bit of history it’s a new ceiling for the team and country. The first bit of history was beating Thailand for the first time. Now we’ve won two matches in the Asian Cup for the first time in history.
“Every time you put on performances like that, you keep raising the ceiling and expectations of what we want to achieve,” the Australian mentor added.
The quarterfinal match is actually the first of many chances by the Philippines to reach the World Cup.
A loss will relegate the Pinay squad to a repechage where one or two remaining World Cup slots are going to be contested.