Women’s World Cup 2023 squad guides part three: Philippines | Women’s World Cup 2023: Guardian Expert Network

JThis article is part of The Guardian’s Women’s World Cup 2023 Expert Network, a cooperation between some of the top media organizations in the 32 qualifying countries. theguardian.com is streaming daily previews from two countries ahead of the tournament, which begins on July 20.


Football in the Philippines has always been in the shadow of basketball and boxing, but over the past decade, the women’s international team, the Philippines, has grown steadily and nearly qualified for the 2019 World Cup in France.

Last year, the breakthrough finally happened. The Philippines reached the semi-finals of the 2022 AFC Asian Cup with the defensive solidity, resilience and never-saying attitude that showed throughout the tournament, and that was enough to get them there. qualify for the country’s first World Cup.

Much like their male counterparts, the Filipino diaspora has provided the country with options all over the world, and especially in the United States. Key to success, however, was the hiring of experienced former Australian coach Alen Stajcic in 2021, his tactical acumen and tournament team management helped take the Philippines to the next level.

New players also joined the squad, such as Norway-born Sara Eggesvik and Canadian-born Jackie Sawicki, and they had no problem fitting in and bonding with the seasoned players in the squad. team, such as defensive kingpin Hali Long and captain Tahnai Annis.

They then won their first medal in 37 years at the Southeast Asian Games, beating Myanmar to claim bronze, before capping their superb run with a first major trophy a few months later by winning the 2022 AFF Women’s Championships. which took place in the Philippines. The biggest win of all, however, was qualifying for the World Cup, a moment Stajcic described as “probably the best achievement so far in my coaching career”.

In Group A, they will face higher ranked teams Switzerland, New Zealand and Norway, but they will not go to the World Cup to make up the numbers. “We are very happy to be here. We are excited, we are proud and we are enjoying every moment,” Stajcic said. “We are grateful to have earned the right to this opportunity and we are respectful of an event that brings together the best female athletes on the planet. We have also raised the bar so high over the past 18 months that none of between us will not cap the height of this bar.