Philippines coach Alen Stajcic hailed qualifying for next year’s Women’s World Cup as a “once in a lifetime” achievement that can inspire a new generation of players.
The Philippines beat Taiwan in a penalty shoot-out in Pune, India on Sunday to secure a place in the Women’s Asian Cup semi-finals and, on top of that, a place in the finals of the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand next June.
It marks the Philippines’ first-ever qualification for a world football grand final, either men’s or women’s, and Stajcic, who was appointed in November, believes it can have a positive impact on children of all ages. the archipelago.
“It’s an incredible achievement by the band, it’s a moment in the country’s history and no one can ever take that away from the band, it’s a new bar that has been set,” said the Australian.
“Now every young child, girl and boy, in the Philippines knows they can be inspired and make it to the World Cup themselves.
— #WAC2022 (@afcasiancup) January 31, 2022
“I know the band are really proud of each other, but I know they’re even more proud of inspiring the next generation.”
Hailing from a country where basketball is the dominant sport, a team drawn largely from the Filipino diaspora in the United States entered the tournament ranked as underdogs.
The Filipinos faced a tough draw in the group stage, which pitted them against Australia, who finished runners-up in the Asian Cup in 2014 and 2018, as well as the FIFA Cup qualifiers. world 2019, Thailand.
However, they came out of their group second behind the Australians before beating three-time Asian champions Taiwan to secure a World Cup spot and also held an Asian Cup semi-final with South Korea. South to Pune on Thursday.
“I’m not even worried about the semi-final right now,” Stajcic said.
“Usually I wouldn’t say that, but we just qualified for the World Cup and we’re going to enjoy it.
“It’s a remarkable achievement, a once-in-a-lifetime achievement, an achievement that has never been done before. So you really have to soak up those moments.
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