HANGZHOU, China — Sustaining its historic run will be the order of business when the Philippines marches to the quarterfinals of the women’s football event of the 19th Asian Games here.
Barely two months after making a historic stint in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Filipinas advanced to the knockout round of the Asian Games for the first time in 65 years following a 3-0 victory over Myanmar late Thursday at the Wenzhou Sports Centre Stadium.
The last time the Philippines made it to the knockout stage of the Asian Games was in 1958 in Tokyo when its men’s team advanced to the quarterfinals before surrendering a 5-2 decision to Indonesia.
The Filipinas will play Japan — the top team in Asia and reigning champion — for a spot in the semifinals of this prestigious quadrennial event.
But Philippine Football Federation chief Mariano “Nonong” Araneta stressed that whatever happens, the Filipinas are already winners.
“We’re very happy for the team making history again by advancing to the quarterfinals,” said Araneta, who is monitoring the progress of the team from Manila.
“We knew it was going to be very difficult for the team to progress because other results had to go our way earlier in the day. But the team kept its focus on the task at hand and did an outstanding job against a team that they have struggled to beat in the past.”
Against the Burmese, Bolden, who scored the country’s historic first goal in the World Cup, struck in the 19th minute to give the Filipinas a 1-0 lead.
Then Sara Eggesvik delivered another goal 15 minutes into the second half, and then another one just a minute after.
The victory gave the Philippines a 2-1 record in Group E after a 3-1 win over Hong Kong and a 5-1 loss to topnotcher South Korea, the bronze winner in 2018.
But it was enough to send the Filipinas into the Last 8 with six points and a +1 goal difference.
“The match not only showcased the improvement of this team, but the maturity and experience in facing tough situations. There is just something great about the grit and determination of the Filipinas every time they face adversity,” Araneta said.
“This is a hard-earned spot in the quarterfinals and we welcome the opportunity for the Filipinas to face the No. 8 ranked team in the world in Japan. The Japanese are the highest ranked team the Filipinas (No. 44) have ever faced in a tournament so we are very excited for this match.”