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Modern technology aids Phl historic win

Members of the Filipinas women's football team, who collectively posted a historic win in the FIFA World Cup, is now reduced to the role as supporters of Gilas Pilipinas in the coming FIBA World Cup. | Photograph courtesy of PFF

So much had been said and written about Sarina Bolden’s heartstopping header and Olivia McDaniel’s heroic saves that keyed the Philippines’ historic 1-0 win over New Zealand in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand.

Nothing, however, was discussed about how modern technology helped preserve the Filipinas’ first-ever victory on the world stage.

Formally introduced in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the video assistant referee has been playing a crucial role in giving fair verdicts in football matches.

In fact, the match between the Filipinas and the Football Ferns could have gone either way if the VAR didn’t assist the game officials in making key decisions.

With the Filipinas holding a slim 1-0 lead, Jacqui Hand delivered a header in the 68th minute that sent more than 32,000 fans at the Wellington Regional Stadium in wild celebration.

But upon a close inspection through the VAR, the goal was ruled offside, forcing the homesquad to search for the equalizer until time formally expired.

McDaniel, who was named Player of the Match, was relieved that the initial goal was nullified as they were able to secure their first-ever World Cup win.

“We collectively held our breath for a minute or two. It was such an incredible goal by them but we are grateful that it was called back and we had to move forward,” McDaniel said.

“We had to settle down and knew that would keep coming and we had to make sure that it would not happen again.”

But the VAR doesn’t always favor the fighting Filipinas.

In their first match against Switzerland at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, the Filipinas found themselves at the wrong end of the VAR verdict after defender Jessika Cowart tackled Coumba Sow while trying to clear the ball away.

The referee took a second look at the play and awarded a 45th minute penalty, which was converted by Ramona Bachmann that gave the Swiss a 1-0 lead at halftime.

The play dictated the tempo, allowing the Swiss to run away with a 2-0 victory that pushed the Filipinas in a must-win battle against New Zealand.

Filipinas head coach Alen Stajcic lauded the wonder of modern technology, saying that the VAR made the right call.

“Was it clear? I did not see the replay, but if it is a penalty it should be clear,” Stajcic said.

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