Following its quantum leap to the world stage, the Philippine women’s soccer team now has a strong argument for bringing the national colors to the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“Of course. If we qualify for the World Cup, why not the Olympics?” Said the president of the Philippine Football Association, Mariano “Nonong” Araneta Jr., after the Filipino women’s boots made history with a breakthrough entry to the next round of the FIFA World Cup. for women.
The Philippines reached the global stage after a heroic performance that produced an exciting 4-3 victory on penalty kick over Chinese Taipei on Sunday during the quarterfinals of the Asian Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cup in Pune, India.
As number 64 in the world, the Philippines can show their newfound confidence against South Korea in the semifinals on Thursday. The Koreans beat the much-favored Australian team 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
“In fact, it’s harder to secure a ticket to the Olympics than to qualify for the World Cup. There are five places for the continent in the World Cup, while only three countries in Asia are going to the Olympics,” Araneta said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday.
Araneta weaved his magic twice, first as Team Philippines chief executive at the Tokyo Olympics last year, where the nation took its first gold medal thanks to weightlifter Hidilyn Diaz.
The Philippines must face Australia, China, Japan, South Korea and probably North Korea in qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.
“The ranking of these countries is really much higher than us. But from what we saw from the team [in India], anything is possible now, ” said Araneta.
“They have proven it and we are convinced that when those qualifiers for the Olympics come, I think we will give them a good fight,” Araneta added.
Team Philippines coach Allen Stajcic formed the team, which became the first national football team to deserve the privilege of attending the prestigious World Cup, even after preparations began in December in Irvine, California.
“If there’s more time, this team can improve a lot. With coach Allen there, there are a lot of promising things that can happen,” Araneta said.
Goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel came through with a couple of big stops along with a penalty kick that equalized the count ahead of Sarina Bolden’s golden goal that sent the Philippines to the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
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