The AFC Women’s Asia Cup kicked off in India on January 20th 2022. For the first time in history, the tournament consisted of 12 teams. As coming to the tournament’s ending stages, only four teams remain as the Semi-Finals round progresses. The Australian team was shown the exit by the South Korean team in the quarterfinals, which gave rise to the playoffs round to three teams for an opportunity to book a spot in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Australia, the host country for the World Cup, automatically gained a place alongside New Zealand. Excluding the Australian team, there were five more spots available for the World Cup, four semi-finalists, and the playoffs’ winner.

PHILIPPINES

The Philippines women’s team ranked 64th in the FIFA rankings qualified for the AFC Women’s Asia Cup by winning the qualification tournament (Group F winners). Philippines were placed in the Group B of the tournament with the mighty Australians, Thailand and Indonesia. Philippines’ first game was against Thailand; they won 1-0 through a goal in the 81st minute by C. McDaniel. Though Thailand controlled the ball, the Philippines were patient enough and took the chances when in control. The Philippines started to create opportunities in the game’s last quarter, which benefited them.

Three days later, they faced the Australian team, who scored 18 goals in their first match against a low ranked Indonesian squad. It was a tough ask for the Philippines to draw the game. Australia won the game 4-0, with 33 shots attempted on goal, from which eight were on target. Dominique Randle, the centre-back, scored an own goal, unfortunately. The Philippines only had three shots attempted on goal, from which two were on target. This loss made the qualification to the next round a bit tricky for them.

The last group stage match was played against Indonesia, and looking at their earlier result from match 2, the Philippines only had to win the game to make it to the next round. They started the game with a powerful attacking approach, leading to an early goal in the 6th minute. The Philippines went on to win the game 6-0, thanks to 5 different scorers. Midfielder Tahnai Annis scored a brace. The Philippines took 31 shots on Thailand’s goal, from which 12 were on target. Qualifying for the quarter-finals, the Philippines’ team was very motivated. Drawing against the three-time Women’s Asia cup champions, Chinese Taipei, the road to the semifinal looked difficult.

Philippines started the game nicely and controlled the ball too. Though knocking at the opponent’s goal several times in the first half led to nothing, the half ended 0-0. From the start of the second half, their intentions were clear, and they created chances. In the 49th minute, their forward Quezada made it 1-0 and gave hope for qualifying in the semis. With 10 mins to go, Taipei did not let it go quickly and pushed for a goal. Chinese Taipei scored the equalising goal in the 82nd minute and took the game to extra time. After the end of extra time, the scoreline remained the same and headed to penalties. The Philippines won the penalty shoot-out 4-3 after each team took six shots; Sarina Bolden scored the winning Penalty.

Philippines qualifying for the Semi-finals of the Women’s Asia Cup for the first time in their history also confirmed their spot in the 2023 FIFA World Cup, which also created history. This will be their debut in the World Cup. The Philippines will play South Korea in the semis on 3rd Feb. The Koreans defeated Australia 1-0 in the quarters to make it to the semis.

Philippines Women’s team have created history by achieving this feat. The next match will be played full of energy and motivation, do catch them live on 3rd Feb. at 1:30 pm IST.