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Despite defeat, Filipinas draw support

Team Philippines during its training ahead of the Women's World Cup football match against Norway. (Photo by Saeed KHAN / AFP)

Filipino football fans trooped to the Glorietta Activity Center Sunday afternoon for a watch party of the Filipinas’ game with Norway in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand thinking they would all end up exchanging high fives.

The big crowd was all pumped up as the Filipinas are going into the crucial Group A match on the heels of their 1-0 win over host New Zealand a few days ago.

They joined in the signing of the national anthem, their right hand on their chest, their lips in synch with the lyrics.

But former champion Norway buckled down to work early, scoring as early as the sixth minute and striking once again in the 17th and 31st.

By the time both teams headed to their respective dressing rooms, the Filipinas looked stunned and deflated.

The audience, noisy and cheerful in the beginning, suddenly became silent as if somebody had pressed the mute button.

Then came goals in the 48th, 53 and in the fifth minute of added time.

Game over.

Still, bigwigs who came to watch saw something positive in the event.

Norwegian ambassador to the Philippines Christian Halaas Lyster told Daily Tribune he was impressed with the Filipinos’ support of the Filipinas during the match.

“I just have to hand it to the Filipino fans. They’re just great, cheering and not giving up,” said Lyster, who distributed football jerseys to young athletes from Tondo, Manila during the watch party.

“It felt like I was at the stadium. There was so much noise and cheering that it felt as if I was at the stadium and watching the game itself so it was great.”

Apart from Glorietta, several more viewing parties popped up in support of the Filipinas during their World Cup campaign.

Philippine Football Federation head of competition Coco Torre said the exposure the Filipinas are getting through the watch parties in the country will only help it grow further.

“You couldn’t believe that this is the support of the fans. We feel happy and elated. What happened today is good for Philippine football,” Torre said, who is also the commissioner of the Philippines Football League.

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