|The new proclaimed queens of Southeast Asia. | PFF|
By: Gil Moriones
From their iconic qualification for the Philippines’ first-ever World Cup and their paid efforts to end the country’s medal shortage at the recent Southeast Asian Games, the Malditas formerly known as Malditas have proven their worth in front of the 8,257 Filipinos who witnessed the establishment. fortress paved the way for the new ruler of women’s football to be recognized across Southeast Asia for the first time ever.
Led by chief strategist and decorated Alen Stajcic, the considered “Masterclass in Manila” manifested throughout their campaign which resulted in more than one goal per game and of course, stats dictated their gameplay.
In this part, what are the takeaways that could inspire fans to look ahead in their future projects?
|Sarina Bolden scored 8 goals in this tournament. | PFF|
Sarina Bolden, who wears the number 8 kit, scored 8 goals to end the tiff as the only top scorer. She showed more lungs in the attack mode suited to her speed and precise attacks which make her threatening in the opposition’s defensive goals. She now has 16 international goals, including her convincing hat-trick against Indonesia that propelled the Philippines to the semi-finals.
|Hali Long scored the first goal against Vietnam in the corner. | PFF|
SET PIECES MAKES US KILLER.
Set pieces, especially corner kicks, were our deadly weapon in our brilliant goals, especially against Vietnam. The fielding of Tahnai Annis and Sara Eggesvik proved its worth in the corner by finding targets to fight towards the net. One of six goals against Singapore, two of four goals against Vietnam and one of our three goals came from corner kicks.
ADJUSTMENTS, ROTATIONS, FIELDING THE BEST IN THEIR ASSIGNMENTS.
Instead of the dismay of our final loss to Thailand in the group stage, don’t worry since the non-carrying game and despite everything, the Philippines will go to the semi-finals that take place so far with the defending champions, the Vietnam. Bolden and Annis weren’t played in full coverage and after that loss, it was incidentally knocked out the young Australians who were serving as a threat if in case they progressed to the knockout stage.
The adjustments were one of the highlights of the tournament. Manifested in the must-win win over Indonesia, three midfielders were called up on the pitch, Eggesvik, Katrina Guillou and Jaclyn Sawicki, and they eased the hattrick groove for Bolden that took them through to the semi-finals.
And with the finals with Thailand in an all-out war on the night of the final, everything was purely dominated, no luck applied, due to credit efforts to disconnect possession of each Thai and more so on the right passages between the flanks for the Philippines.
At this point, Eggesvik, Sawicki and Guillou were the demons playing midfield with precision. While Isabella Flanigan, Quinley Quezada, Eva Madarang and Annis are involved in the impressive all-around football presented by the Philippines in this entire tournament.
DEFENSIVE ERRORS KILLING FILIPINAS.
The fact that we have conceded two goals, against Indonesia and Thailand, in this whole tournament, is due to the defensive errors which minimize and are totally absent during their semi-final and final tour. Thanks for adjusting the personnel by replacing the defender with heights and a sense of restlessness like Sofia Harrison.
Communication in the backline was impressive, heeding each other’s calls, and defensive timing was challenged despite being penetrated down both flanks.
This means that our opponents cannot score a goal with one of their solid shot attempts. Thus, as much to say that the defense of the Philippines improved in overtime since Day 1 against Australia, without compromising discipline and acuity, in particular by giving faults.
FILIPINAS END THE TOURNAMENT STRONGLY AND CONVINCINGLY.
The Philippines performed no miracles in their victory against Vietnam and Thailand, the two powerhouses of ASEAN football. The way the Philippines win this tournament sends a strong statement. The Philippines went 4-1 in the group stage, although trailed by Thailand we have 14 GDs – the highest in the group stage.
While in the match against Vietnam, four goals were not just too much for the Golden Star Women Warriors to dethrone in their defensive seat, but the fact that the event was dominated in the stat sheets.
Without any Cinderella runs, the Philippines have proven themselves as World Cup contenders with their superb game control on the pitch. In how they conquered the field, that’s the queen of things to do.
|Ultra Filipinos protesting #PilipinasMalupet | Filipino Ultras|
ULTRAS FILPINAS – Our 12th wife.
Live football is not complete without the serenade and chants of Filipino Ultras. With their heartfelt patriotic jingle, everyone in the stadium rocked and sang along. Chants praising players like Sarina Bolden drew attention in their impromptu composition and other notable chants that held sway throughout the tournament.
In their appeal, “Ikaw na lang ang kulang” – they urge and invite everyone to join them and support our national teams, not just Filipias and Azkals.
For a dream country that wanted to become a footballing nation like our opponents, Ultras Filipinas will be the catalyst for that transition as Stajcic, during his interview, said, “Football is alive in the Philippines”.
Disclaimer: My views, opinions and takes in this article do not represent the Philippines as a whole.