Football: Filipinas stun New Zealand for first-ever World Cup win

Camille B. Naredo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 25 2023 03:33 PM | Updated as of Jul 25 2023 04:48 PM

The Filipinas celebrate after Sarina Bolden scored against New Zealand in the FIFA Women's World Cup. PFF-PWNFT.
The Filipinas celebrate after Sarina Bolden scored against New Zealand in the FIFA Women's World Cup. PFF-PWNFT.

(UPDATED) The Filipinas have once again written their name in history. 

The Philippine women's national football team secured their first-ever victory in the FIFA Women's World Cup on Tuesday, pulling off a shock 1-0 triumph over co-host New Zealand in front of a raucous crowd at the Wellington Regional Stadium. 

It was a dramatic triumph for the Filipinas, who went ahead in the 24th minute off a header by Sarina Bolden, then leaned on their defense in the closing stretch to hold off the Football Ferns. The victory -- which came in front of over 32,000 fans at the "Sky Stadium" -- gave the Filipinas three points in Group A and kept alive their hopes of advancing to the knockout phase of the World Cup.

Meanwhile, it was a frustrating result for the Football Ferns, who entered the match with great confidence following their upset of Norway in their tournament opener last Thursday. But they could not break down the Filipinas' defense for over 90 minutes, despite dominating possession and sending 15 shots at Olivia McDaniel. 

"It means everything to us … We put our head down, we came in focused, we had a goal in mind and we achieved it. We couldn't have asked for better," said McDaniel, who earned Player of the Match honors after another superb performance in between the sticks. 

Philippines coach Alen Stajcic said on Monday that the Filipinas wanted to "crash the party" and his side came through, producing a more confident performance after absorbing a 2-0 loss to Switzerland in their World Cup debut last Friday.

It was Bolden who put the Filipinas ahead in the first half, powering the ball past New Zealand goal-keeper Victoria Esson despite being tightly marked by CJ Bott and Katie Bowen.

That goal made the Philippines the first debutante team to score in the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023, while Bolden took her tally to 22 goals for the country. 

New Zealand had dominated possession for most of the early goings, but a foul by Indiah-Paige Riley on Sara Eggesvik set up Angela Beard's free kick that sent the ball into New Zealand's box. After an initial clearance by the Football Ferns, Eggesvik regained possession and fired the pinpoint cross that Bolden converted in stunning fashion. 

It could have been 2-0 to the Philippines late in the first half, but Katrina Guillou's attempt was just wide. 

The Football Ferns were more aggressive in the second half and pressed forward in search of the equalizer. Jacqui Hand came close in the 65th, but her strike hit the post and was collected by Olivia McDaniel.

New Zealand thought they had grabbed the equalizer in the 68th minute, when Jacqui Hand headed in a cross from Hannah Wilkinson. However, a VAR check nullified the goal as Wilkinson was marginally offside in the build-up. 

McDaniel was made to work for her clean sheet in the closing minutes, as Grace Jale very nearly tied the game three minutes into added time. But McDaniel was able to parry the ball away, and the Filipinas cleared the Football Ferns' ensuing corner. 

It was only a matter of time from there as the Filipinas waited for the final whistle, before they spilled onto the pitch for an emotional celebration. 

"We had some luck, but we also earned our luck. For team sports, it would have to be one of the best achievements in the history of the country," Stajcic said afterward.

The Philippines' historic victory means that Group A is wide open, with three teams on three points ahead of the Switzerland-Norway match later on Tuesday at the Waikato Stadium.

The Filipinas will try to build on the win when they take on Norway -- a side ranked 12th in the world -- on July 30 at the Eden Park, while New Zealand look to bounce back against Switzerland also on July 30 at the Forsyth Barr Stadium.


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