PH clinches first Women's World Cup berth

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Photo courtesy: Philippine Football Federation

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 31) — The Philippines on Sunday clinched its first Women's World Cup berth after beating Chinese Taipei, 1-1 (4-3), on penalties in the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup quarterfinals at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, India.

Aside from advancing to the semifinals, the Philippines is one of the four Asian squads that secured their slot to the world's biggest international football tournament along with fellow quarterfinals victors China, South Korea, and defending AFC Women's Asian Cup champions Japan. 

"It's an unbelievable achievement. It's a moment of history for the country," said Philippine women's football team head coach Alen Stajcic. "We're very proud that we may have inspired the next generation."

In the penalty shootout, Chinese Taipei had a comfortable 3-2 lead after misses from Philippine team captain Tahnai Annis, Jessica Miclat, and co-captain Hali Long.

However, it was the Taiwanese players' turn to botch three consecutive penalty shots as Filipina goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel and striker Sarina Bolden converted their penalties to send the squad to its maiden Women's World Cup trip.

"It's really surreal," said McDaniel, who is named Player of the Match. "It's make or break right now. You need to show up for the team."

Both squads settled for a scoreless stalemate in the first half, with the Filipinas getting some good looks for the goal but not enough to go inside the box. The Chinese Taipei squad also showed their relentless defense and disciplined passing to match the intensity of their opponents.

Four minutes into the second half, midfielder Quinley Quezada scored the much-needed goal for the Philippines through a right foot shot as she received an assist from Filipino French defender Katrina Guillou inside the box.

Since the Filipinas took the lead, the Chinese Taipei booters became more aggressive in attacking the ball offensively with midfielder Wang Hsiang-Huei almost tying the game with a strike in the 79th minute.

The Taiwanese equalized the match in the 83rd minute as midfielder Zhuo Li-Ping capitalized her left foot for a long ball that went straight to the top of the box.

The Philippine booters had some missed chances and corners that went for naught in the last minutes to play in extra time.

The extra time was also fruitless for both squads, with no clear opportunities to score the winning goal.

Guillou almost gave the lead to the Philippines in the 105th minute, but her shot from the right flank went outside after the ball failed to land inside the goal area.

"We lost composure a little bit early in the game," Stajcic said. "But the big picture is the whole journey to get here and win matches to get here."

The Philippines will face South Korea in their first AFC Women's Asian Cup semifinals stint on Feb. 3 at 4:00 p.m. Philippine time.