The Philippine women’s football team improves yet again in world ranking
With a little more than a month before they embark on a historic journey in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 in New Zealand, the Philippine National Women’s Football Team celebrated a new milestone with yet another leap in the world ranking.
The Filipinas, who are in the thick of their training camp in Sydney, improved from no. 49 to no. 46, their highest thus far in the global ratings among football-playing countries.
The progress came a month after the Filipinas pulled off a 2-1 upset of defending champion Vietnam in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
Beating Vietnam, another qualifier for the World Cup, was an achievement for the Filipinas in their bracket although the Filipinas did not advance to the semifinal round of the 2023 SEA Games women’s football.
Vietnam eventually advanced to the finals, beating Myanmar, 2-0, for the gold medal.
“We wish for them to compete well in the World Cup. This is their first time,” said Philippine Football Federation president Mariano Araneta.
The road to glory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup has been long and winding for the Filipinas, who have been preparing and seeking improvements over the last two years.
Focusing on their preparations was made possible under former Australia manager Alen Stajcic, who took on the job as the Filipinas’ coach since 2021.
With Stajcic calling the shots, the Philippines finished second in Group B of the Women’s Asian Cup behind Australia to book their place in the knockout stages of the qualifiers for the second time.
This was a better performance following their fifth-place finish in 2018.
“They are preparing well. They just won’t go there to participate. They won’t go there just to be present. But they will get there to compete,” added Araneta.
The Filipinas made it to the World Cup after engaging Chinese Taipei in a penalty shootout.
It didn’t matter if the Filipinas took a 2-0 defeat to Korea Republic in the semi-finals, they still became the first Filipino side to reach the global event.
They were joined by Southeast Asian rival, Vietnam, which scraped through to the knockout rounds as the second-best third-place team from the group stage, but were defeated 3-1 by eventual champions China in the first knockout round.
But victories over Thailand and Chinese Taipei in the play-offs allowed Vietnam to join the Philippines in the World Cup finals.
A month after their last game in the 2023 Southeast Asian Games in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, members of a 29-member pool have begun converging in Sydney, as the Filipinas started their final preparations last Saturday for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Philippine Football Federation’s National Women’s Training Director Isabella Fernando said the team has gone through two long years of preparation, and she is excited to see the players at their best.
“They are just gonna be doing their best to earn that spot, and represent the flag as best as they can,” said Fernando.
The Filipinas will have their first game against the New Zealand Football Ferns in New Zealand on July 25 in Dunedin.