PHILIP­PINES

Australian Four Four Two - - ASIAN CUP SPECIAL -

The Philip­pines qual­i­fied for the Asian Cup via a pow­er­ful dis­play see­ing them fin­ish sec­ond in their qual­i­fy­ing group. Ranked 69th in the world, PWNFT hit the qual­i­fy­ing ground run­ning, scor­ing 16 goals across three matches while de­feat­ing United Arab Emi­rates (4-0), Iraq (4-0) and Ta­jik­istan (8-0). It wasn’t un­til their fourth qual­i­fi­ca­tion match that they con­ceded their first goal, but still fought back to snatch a 1-1 draw against Bahrain. In their fifth and fi­nal qual­i­fi­ca­tion match though, the Philip­pines stum­bled, go­ing down to Asian Cup hosts Jor­dan 5-1. Coach Richard Boon has only been at the helm since late 2017 but has been work­ing hard in camps to in­stil his style of football within the squad. He al­ready has good play­ers to work with in Hali Long who scored a hat­trick against Ta­jik­istan as well as goalscor­ing sis­ters Sara and Anicka Cas­tañeda. Based in the USA, Long is listed as a de­fender but of­fers ver­sa­til­ity up and down the field. Sara Cas­tañeda plays as an adapt­able cen­tral mid­fielder while Eva Madarang is key – the 19 year old for­ward scored four goals across the five qual­i­fi­ca­tion games. Re­cent in­ter­na­tional re­sults for PFWNT have not been strong. Man­ag­ing a 2-1 win in their first out­ing against Malaysia at the 2017 South­east Asian Games, PFWNT then went on to lose their re­main­ing three matches against Viet­nam (3-0), Myan­mar (6-0) and Thai­land (3-1). The Philip­pines have never man­aged to get past the group stage of an Asian Cup and 2018 is the first time in 15 years they have qual­i­fied.

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