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Filipinas eye strong finish

The national women’s football team seeks to end its campaign on a high note when it faces Iceland in the 2023 Pinatar Cup on Wednesday morning (Manila time) at the Pinatar Arena in Murcia, Spain.

Action kicks off at 3:30 a.m. with the Filipinas determined to book a crucial win over the Icelanders, who are at No. 16 in the latest International Football Federation ranking.

The Filipinas have yet to win in this international friendly series, but they have shown encouraging signs as they bowed to prominent squads like Wales, 0-1, and Scotland, 1-2, by razor-thin margins.

Team captain Tahnai Annis said despite absorbing a pair of sorry losses, they are hardly upset, knowing that they are gaining experiences that will be valuable when they compete in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand this August.

“I think as time goes by, you know, we’re just learning. So even if we take two steps back, and we take a step forward, and maybe a step back, and then a couple of steps forward,” Annis said.

“So, I think for as long as we keep going in the direction that we to, no matter how incremental it might be, I think we’re still progressing. And having a lot of takeaways from each game that we play, I think it will help us in the World Cup.”

The Filipinas’ final assignment in the Pinatar Cup could be a major boost in their World Cup preparation as Iceland parades quality players like Karólína Lea Vilhjálmsdóttir and Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir of Bayern Munich as well as Guðný Árnadóttir of AC Milan.

Philippine Football Federation secretary general Edwin Gastanes told Daily Tribune that the team will continue to improve as the World Cup draws near.

“I’m sure the players and the team are learning from the previous two matches and that should give them confidence for the final match,” Gastanes said in a phone conversation.

“As you know, these are all training matches although they are international friendlies, they are training matches to gauge the level of play of our team. It looks like they have improved since last year because the scorelines are very close.”

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