The Philippine national women’s football team secured a historic berth at the grand football arena of the FIFA World Cup. This was after their win against Chinese Taipei in the quarter-finals of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup on Monday, Jan. 31 (PH time) in Pune, India.
In an interview with PhilSTAR L!fe, midfielder Jessica Miclat said that their triumphant feat hasn’t completely sunk in yet. “First thing we did after our win was just to embrace each other and share this special, historical, and monumental moment with each other that we all never experienced before. I think we are all still processing it, but this is something we will hold onto forever.”
How did they achieve this momentous victory? Consistency has been top-of-mind since they started their journey. “We still went in with the same mindset as the other matches in the sense that we have to come out relentless and work harder than the other team to win,” Miclat explained. “Because this is soccer, the better team doesn’t always win, but the team that executes the best does.”
They only had one goal for themselves: to qualify for the World Cup—and this, they kept in mind all throughout the tournament. “Just trusting in ourselves and our abilities, but also remembering the goals we set at the beginning of the tournament would give us the best chance to win, and that’s what we did.”
Managed by Coach Alen Stajcic, here’s the full lineup of the team that earned a World Cup spot for the country for the very first time:
Miclat, on behalf of her team, expressed her gratitude to all the Filipinos who have continued to support them since day one. “We just want to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts. It means the world to us to have so much love and support, and to help us achieve this goal,” she said.
The footballer also has a message to women footballers and aspirants who have set big hopes for themselves. “Dream big and keep going. No dream is unattainable. I hope we helped those with future football dreams realize that and I hope the Philippines knows how proud we were to represent our country on this big stage.”
What’s next for the national women’s football team? “I think we are going to enjoy this moment and live in it. We know this is only one step up the ladder but we are going to continue to keep climbing and training and competing so that those who doubted will know the Philippines is on the map and will always give it our all whenever they face us.”
As they prepare for the semi-finals on Thursday, Feb. 3, they remain upbeat about the prestigious tournament scheduled in July 2023 with New Zealand and Australia as its hosts. “We are excited to begin preparations in the coming months for the 2023 World Cup and we can’t wait to show you all what’s in store,” Miclat said with pure enthusiasm.