Malditas bat­tle South Korea for fi­nal spot in Women’s World Cup

Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro - - Top Sports -

MANILA--The Philip­pine women’s na­tional foot­ball team faces a his­tory-defin­ing mo­ment in their bid to qual­ify to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

The Philip­pine Malditas will take on South Korea in the fifth-place play­off of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Mon­day evening (1 a.m. on Tues­day in Manila), at the Amman In­ter­na­tional Sta­dium in Jor­dan.

The win­ner of the match will se­cure the last spot to the Women’s World Cup next year.

Both teams head to the cru­cial play-off hav­ing fin­ished third in their re­spec­tive groups. The Philip­pines had one win and two losses in Group A, while South Korea had one win and two draws in Group B.

The Philip­pines won against host Jor­dan in the group stage, but lost their last two as­sign­ments against China and Thai­land.

Philip­pine head coach Rabah Ben­larbi said his play­ers must cher­ish the mo­ment head­ing into what may be the big­gest match of their lives.

“The Philip­pines have ab­so­lutely noth­ing to lose as no­body re­ally ex­pected us to be in the po­si­tion that we find our­selves in,” said the French coach. “We must give our all, as we have 90 min­utes to reach the World Cup. It is po­ten­tially a once-in-a-life­time mo­ment for my play­ers.”

Ben­larbi also cred­ited Korea’s run in the tour­na­ment. The East Asian side put on a solid de­fen­sive ef­fort to force a score­less draw against both Japan and Aus­tralia be­fore de­feat­ing Viet­nam in their fi­nal group game.

“I am a lit­tle sur­prised to be play­ing Korea Repub­lic as they were one of the best teams in Group B and de­served, in my opin­ion, to go to the semi-fi­nals and of course the World Cup,” he said.

from Mia Mon­tayre/PFF

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