For the Philippine Women's National Team, the road to the World Cup begins now
ABS-CBN Sports on Apr 03, 2018 12:32 PM
(Photo courtesy of The PFF)
As the amazing high from the Philippine Azkals historic win over Tajikistan to book a slot in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup last week slowly simmers, the Philippine Women’s National Team embark on their own journey as the kick off their Women’s AFC Asian Cup campaign later this week.
A day after the men took care of business against Tajikistan, the ladies were given a proper send-off as they head to Amman, Jordan with the hopes of also making even more Philippine football history.
“I hope by next month, we will have ’The Miracle in Jordan’, where in we will compete in the World Cup,” Philippine Football Federation President Mariano ‘Nonong’ Araneta said during the send-off, referencing the Azkals’ win over Tajikistan being called ‘The Miracle in Manila.’
“I believe that we can do it. The coaches here told me that the team is well-prepared and we can pull some surprises in Jordan. I know that you will fight hard, you will play for the Philippines, and that’s our goal, is for football to be uplifted here in the Philippines, with your help.” Araneta added.
In their eight previous appearances in the prestigious Asian tournament, the Filipinas have only managed up until the Group Stages. The last time that the Philippines made it to the tournament was way back in 2003.
How’d They Get There?
Before we talk about what’s at stake, let’s first look back at how the Philippine women’s squad made their way into the the 2018 Women’s AFC Asian Cup.
Part of a 21-team pool that was drawn in January of 2017, the Philippines found themselves in Group A of the Qualifying Tournament, along with AFC Cup host-nation Jordan, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, and Iraq.
The Qualifying Tournament began in April, with the Philippines putting on an impressive outing and finishing with a 3 win - one loss - one draw record, which was good enough for second in Group A, behind Jordan.
The second-place finish earned the Philippines a trip to the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
Who Else Made It?
The Philippines will be competing against seven other teams:
JORDAN - Host Nation, 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group A Winners
JAPAN - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Champions
AUSTRALIA - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Runners-Up
PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA - 2014 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Second Runners-Up
SOUTH KOREA - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group B Winners
THAILAND - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group C Winners
VIETNAM - 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Group D Winners
Of those eight qualified nations, China, Japan, Australia, and Thailand have all gone all the way and won the tournament.
China has the most AFC Women’s Asian Cup titles with eight, while Japan, Australia, and Thailand all have one each.
What’s At Stake?
A trip to France for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
That’s the dream, right there.
To get there however, won’t be an easy road, as the Philippines will be facing some top-tier talent in their group alone.
The eight teams have been split into two groups of four, and the Filipinas have been put in GROUP A, together with Jordan, China PR, and Thailand.
To ensure qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Philippines will need at least a runner-up finish in the group.
The last qualification spot will go to the winner of a fifth-place match between the second runners-up of each group.
As with any national football team, the ultimate dream is to play in the World Cup.
With five teams from the Asian Cup set to earn qualification, this is the biggest chance that the Philippines has of making the premiere tournament for the first time in the nation’s history.
For the Philippines, qualification not only puts the Philippines on the map in terms of Asian football, but it also cements their place in the history of the Women’s World Cup.
The Philippines’ Women’s Asian Cup campaign will be as follows:
Philippines vs. Jordan - Saturday, April 7, 1:00 AM Manila Time
Philippines vs. China PR - Monday, April 9, 9:45 PM Manila Time
Philippines vs. Thailand - Thursday, April 12, 1:00 AM Manila Time