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Pinays shut out in World Cup debut by Swiss

TOUGH LOSS. Philippines’ defender Sofia Harrison (right, #16) and forward Katrina Guillou (#21) clash with Switzerland’s Eseosa Aigbogun during their 2023 Women’s World Cup Group A football match at Dunedin Stadium in New Zealand on July 21. AFP

The Philippines’ first foray onto football’s biggest stage resulted in a 0-2 loss to world no. 20 Switzerland Friday in the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup at the Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Collectively known as the Filipinas, the Philippine women’s World Cup debut got whacked by a relentless Switzerland side that easily cruised to the two-nil win, fueled

by goals from veterans Ramona Bachmann and Seraina Piubel.

Despite the setback, Philippine team coach Alen Stajcic said the Filipinas showed their fighting spirit and remained calm and composed during the match.

“The players coming to the World Cup for the first time, you expect nerves, you expect people to suffer from the occasion. But the players did not show that today,” said Stajcic.

He added that the Filipinas showed discipline on the field, despite the Swiss pressuring them constantly.

Katrina Guillou tried to give the 46th-ranked Filipinas a good start when she got the ball in position at the right side of the penalty, slipped past the goalkeeper, and put the ball in the back of the net in the 16th minute.

But the euphoria died quickly when the referee raised the offside flag.

“The quality of the game was amazing. We’re a little bit unlucky when we had a goal early in the game and it was offside,” said Stajcic.

The Inka Grings-coached Switzerland then began its barrage of scoring attempts, starting off with Coumba Sow penetrating the Filipinas’ defense in the 37th minute with a high volley to the right of the net that almost went in.

The pressure continued as Paris St. Germain player Bachmann found a chance to score for the Nati, sinking a penalty shot in the 44th minute off Jessika Cowart’s foul as her attempt went to the right of goalie Olivia McDaniel.

The Swiss kept the furious assault in the second half with attempts from Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic and Sow getting deflected by McDaniel.

But after McDaniel pushed away Sow’s short volley, Piubel appeared from nowhere and rebounded the Filipino-American goalie’s swat with her goal.

From there, Switzerland kept the ball away from their side and the Filipinas endured eight more attempts from the Swiss side to score. McDaniel, who had 17 saves out of 19 attempts by Switzerland, said they look forward to their next game, adding they will bring in the experience and learn from the loss when they take on hosts New Zealand on July 25 at 1:30 p.m. (Manila time) in Wellington.

They play Norway on July 30 at 3 p.m. (Manila time) in Auckland.

“This may be our first time out here, but it doesn’t feel like it. We have way more to give. We’re going to look forward to the next one and bring it as hard as we can,” said McDaniel.

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