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Papuans test Filipinas mettle

We’ve come so far in the last 11 months but the few months leading to the World Cup will be even more challenging as a group.

The national women’s football team will be testing its mettle against Papua New Guinea in a friendly match Sunday at the Western Sydney Wanderers Park in Australia.

Kick off is set at 4 p.m. with the Filipinas opening their two-game friendly to cap their training for the year before heading into the crucial stretch of their World Cup preparation.

They will face the Papuans anew on 15 December.

Filipinas head coach Alen Stajcic said they have already improved a lot, but they can’t afford to be complacent as they are stacked against great odds in the World Cup after landing in Group A with New Zealand, Switzerland and Norway.

“We’ve come so far in the last 11 months but the few months leading to the World Cup will be even more challenging as a group,” Stajcic said.

“We have a tough road ahead of us if we want to be the best that we can be in the World Cup.”

In the final FIFA rankings for the year, the Philippines remains at No. 53 while Papua New Guinea is at No. 51.

Olivia McDaniel, Katrina Guillou and Bella Flanigan will banner the 23-woman pool that is on a road trip after qualifying in the World Cup following an impressive run in the AFF Women’s Championship in Manila last July.

The Philippines had already played friendly matches with New Zealand, Costa Rica and Chile to get acclimatized to the tougher competition ahead.

Philippine Football Federation president Mariano “Nonong” Araneta said he wants consistency from the girls to end the year strong.

“The PFF wants to make sure that the team continues its improvement and the best way to do that is through camps and friendly matches,” Araneta said in a statement.

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