MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine boys team kicked off their campaign in the 2014 Street Child World Cup on a mixed note, winning against Nicaragua in their first contest but bowing to Burundi in their second game in Rio de Janeiro.
They began the day with a solid 1-0 win over Nicaragua, with Kenneth from Gawad Kalinga scoring the lone goal of the match by rebounding a shot off Joseph of FC Leveriza.
Goal-keeper Benjamin, also from FC Leveriza, was awarded Man of the Match honors after making several good stops.
Benjamin was also awarded the Man of the Match in the second game, but it was Burundi who took the victory, 4-0.
Burundi deserved the win, but the Philippine boys were able to carve out several good chances of their own. Burundi, a very tall and physical team, powered their way through some of the smaller boys at times, and took the lead very early in the game.
The Philippines almost equalized in the first half as they strung together a series of good passes to work through their taller and stronger opponents, but their striker couldn’t quite reach the final cross to the back post.
In the second half, Burundi continued winning all the aerial balls but a long range shot deflected cruelly off a Philippine defender to give them a two-goal lead.
The Philippines had chances on the counter attack but again couldn’t find the finish, and Burundi scored twice more as the Philippines pushed high to get back into the game.
“It was a mixed start to the group stage for us, but still one to be proud of,” said team leader and head coach Roy Moore.
“We have our first three points of the campaign, and it puts our destiny in our own hands, as despite the loss to Burundi, who will most likely win the group, Tanzania and Argentina will be close but winnable games,” he added.
The boys still have a good chance of reaching the quarter-finals with games against Tanzania and Argentina.
While the boys were playing, the Philippine girls team visited the favelas during the day.
The girls will play their final group against El Salvador, with a win putting them through the quarter finals as the group winners.