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Filipinas battle world No. 3 Swedes

‘After the roster was made, I don’t think there was necessarily a difference in competitiveness. All of us are still giving 110 percent.’

Sarah Bolden and the Filipinas take on the mighty Swedes in a friendly match. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF PWNT/FB

The Philippine national women’s football team will take on world No. 3 Sweden in a friendly match on Monday in preparation for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup which starts on 20 August in Australia and New Zealand.

This will be the final friendly match for the Filipinas as they cap off their last training camp with head coach Alen Stajcic, who will be testing the 23-women squad he and the coaching staff picked for this year’s biggest football spectacle.

The private match will be held at the New Zealand Campus of Innovation and Sport in Wellington.

Both squads will be playing in the World Cup as the Philippines is in Group A and will face Switzerland on 21 July, co-host New Zealand on 25 July and Norway on 30 July.

The Swedes will be playing in Group G and will play South Africa on 23 July, Italy on 29 July and Argentina on 2 August.

Facing the bronze medalists from the 2019 World Cup in France, the Filipinas know this will be the best time to not only tweak their tactics but build up their confidence.

Quinley Quezada said even with the roster for the World Cup already decided, the team remains competitive for spots in the starting lineup.

“After the roster was made, I don’t think there was necessarily a difference in competitiveness. All of us are still giving 110 percent,” Quezada said.

“We’re still competing for starting positions, so I think that competitiveness within the group is still strong and evident in our team right now,” she further said.

Stars such as forward Sarina Bolden, team captain and midfielder Tahnai Annis, and defender and co-captain Hali Long banner the Philippines.

The Swedes will have the likes of goalkeeper Zećira Mušović from Chelsea, midfielder and co-captain Kosovare Asllani from AC Milan and Fridolina Rolfö of FC Barcelona leading their squad for the World Cup.

For Long, the match will be a great chance for the team to apply the lessons in the past 18 months of competitions and training camps overseas.

“We’ve been working hard to get this moment. But the hard work is not gonna stop, and we’re all excited for us to see where we’re at,” Long said.

“It’s about to be game time so we really have to remember all the little details we’ve been taught along this 18-month journey. We have done all of our fine-tuning but it’s finally time to prove and show what we’re made of.”

Sweden head coach Peter Gerhardsson said facing the Filipinas would help the team get new ideas for their upcoming matches in the World Cup.

“It gives us the opportunity to get a good run-through for the whole squad before the premiere on 23 July and at the same time work on our game and our attitudes in match situations against a World Cup nation,” Gerhardsson said on the national team website.

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