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FIFA Women's World Cup 2023: Debutant Filipinas absorbs defeat VS Switzerland

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The starting eleven of the philippines in their debut in the 2023 FIFA women's world cup versus switzerland
GALLANT STAND. The Philippines fought valiantly but absorbed a two-nil defeat against Switzerland in their FIFA Women's World Cup debut this 2023 in New Zealand. PHOTO: Philippine Football Federation/Facebook
July 21, 2023 is a date to remember for Filipino football fans.
Their women's national football team, the Filipinas, made its official debut in the quadrennial FIFA Women's World Cup at Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand on Friday, July 21 (Manila time).
For the first time in Philippine footballing history, Lupang Hinirang, the country's national anthem, was heard played in a World Cup before their clash against Switzerland began.
Goosebumps were what their supporters felt.
After the opening introductions, head coach Alen Stajcic's side exerted gallant effort until the final whistle.
However, they still fell into the hands of the thick, tall-framed Swiss squad, 2-0.
The Philippines will next face host New Zealand on Tuesday, July 25, at 1:30 p.m. (Philippine standard time) at Wellington Regional Stadium.
Bounce back is what the Filipinas will want against the Kiwi team, but this won't be easy, considering the latter came from a morale-boosting 1-0 upset of Norway, one of the favorites to win the tournament.
Katrina Guillou almost broke the nil-nil deadlock in the 16th minute after converting a long pass during a counterattack into a wonderful strike.
Unfortunately, Guillou was flagged offside by the referee, canceling the celebration of Filipino spectators watching inside the venue, as well as those streaming online.
Switzerland, qualified for the global showpiece by topping its group in the Union of European Football Association (UEFA) World Cup Qualifiers, created several scoring chances to no avail as the halftime break drew near.
Switzerland's all-time goal scorer and most capped player, Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic, came close, but her left-footed shot went above the top bar of the goalpost.
Fortunately for Inka Grings' starting eleven, they earned a penalty kick late in the first half following a Jessika Cowart foul against Coumba Sow inside the dangerous area. The call was confirmed after a video assistant referee (VAR) review by Togolese referee Vincentia Amedone.
Veteran forward Ramona Bachmann stepped in for the spot-kick, and she nailed it flawlessly, sending Philippines' goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel to the wrong side to open the floodgates for the white shirts.
The successful penalty kick attempt set the tone for La Nati in the next 45 minutes, with the 20th-ranked Switzerland dominating the field.
Nineteen minutes into the second half, the aggressive Swiss crew got rewarded for their relentless work rate.
Not once, not twice, but Switzerland took three shots to double their advantage in the 64th minute, with Seraina Piubel finding the back of the net after McDaniel denied Sow and Crnogorcevic.
The Swiss defense held on until the referee blew the whistle, securing their first three points to claim Group A leadership by goal difference (GD) over New Zealand as of press time.
Meanwhile, world number 46 Filipinas dropped to the cellar spot with a -2 GD.
In a post-match interview, Stajcic commended his wards despite the loss, stating how the Philippines fared against a higher-ranked foe.
"For us to compete against a team like that is miraculous, really," Stajcic said. "You saw true spirit, true heart, a team that never gave up, proud of their jersey, proud of the flag, proud of the people they represent, and I think that's the most important thing."
With two more fixtures on hand, the Philippines still have a chance to reach the Round of 16 by attaining favorable results against New Zealand and Norway.

Last Modified: 2023-Jul-22 10.02.10 UTC+0800