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Norway-born Eggesvik eyes World Cup glory

Sara Eggesvik and the Filipinas are determined to pull an upset of Norway to advance to the knockout round of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. | MELVILLE/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

AUCKLAND, New Zealand — Filipinas midfielder Sara Eggesvik remains focused as they battle Norway in a critical match on Sunday at the close of Group A in the FIFA Women’s World Cup at Eden Park here.

Born in Norway but traces her roots in Davao City, Eggesvik delivered the assist that Sarina Bolden headed home for a 1-0 win over New Zealand last Tuesday in Wellington.

“I remember getting the ball in the box and just crossing it. It was an amazing header by Sarina over three defenders. It was a team effort. I am just so glad and grateful. I am so proud of this team,” said Eggesvik, who was born in the coastal city of Bodø, northeast of the capital of Oslo and located near the Arctic Circle.

The win put the Filipinas in contention for a place in the knockout round of the tournament.

Eggesvik caught the attention of Filipino fans during last year’s 10th AFF Women’s Championship where her midfield mastery and fluid play were on full display as the Filipinas bagged the country’s first major international title at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila.

Trying to hold back her tears, Eggesvik said the victory over the fancied Ferns showed that “this team is really something special. It shows we can compete at this level and we will keep on fighting. It shows that it is possible to get a win, to get a goal and get points from our games. That motivates us.”

Eggesvik paid tribute to coach Alen Stajcic and the rest of the staff “who keep on pushing us and making us better every day. We have always believed in ourselves even when we lost and played bad games. We will keep on playing hard.”

She acknowledged that while they would savor the winning moment, the Filipinas will have to brace for a tough battle against the Norwegians who are ranked 34 places higher than the Filipinas at No. 12.

“We have to restart again and think of the next game,” she said.

“We have to take advantage of what we have. We want to see if we can create trouble and be competitive. To keep our heads down and keep fighting.”

While it appears to be a tall order, Eggesvik said that toppling Norway would not only mean advancing to the knockout round but also will have a huge impact for football development back home.

“Going to the knockout stage, that would mean a lot. From being a small football country, we can inspire a lot of girls and boys to start playing football and show that it is possible to do something great although you are from the Philippines,” she stressed.

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