The Philippines Women’s National Team’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign will end tonight with the Fifth Place Play-off against Korea Republic. The winner goes to FIFA Women World Cup France 2019.
The team’s run in the tournament is nothing short of remarkable. An opening day win over host Jordan gave the team the hope of qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, but losses against China PR and Thailand sent the team to third place with the match against the Koreans serving as their last chance to qualify for France 2019.
Defender Jesse Shugg gave her insights on what has been a memorable campaign for the team so far.
“We’ve given up and sacrificed so much to make it here,” said Shugg. “We persevered together and focused on our main goal for a country that we love to make a tournament that we deserve to be in.”
Heading to the match against the unbeaten Korea Republic team, Shugg expects everyone to step up and relish their final match of the tournament.
“My motivation is my team,” shared Shugg. “We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. No matter what happens we’re going to work our asses off until the final whistle.”
Midfielder Jessica Miclat and defender Ryley Bugay echoed Shugg’s words.
“I still get the butterflies (before every match), but it’s more of excitement over nervousness,” said Miclat, whose father comes from Sampaloc, Manila. “It’s been overwhelming, surreal, and a good kind of experience.”
“We keep everyone motivated and focused,” explained Bugay. “If we keep to be disciplined and focus, we should be okay.”
Experienced players Patrice Impelido and Sara Castañeda also offered their words of confidence ahead of the match.
“It’s possible to (for us) make it to the FIFA Women’s World Cup,” said Impelido. “We’ll do anything to qualify even if it’s through the fifth place match (against Korea Republic).”
“We’ll just keep working hard and believe in each other,” explained Castañeda. “We’re going to try to win and create history.”
Photo from Mia Montayre