The remarkable journey of the Philippine women’s football team in their inaugural FIFA Women’s World Cup came to an end with a challenging 6-0 loss against former champions Norway. The match, held at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, on Sunday, July 30, saw the Filipinas unable to match Norway’s scoring prowess, thus concluding their historic campaign on a tough note.
Entering the match with hopes of securing an upset victory over Norway – the 1995 World Cup champions who had faced early struggles in the tournament – the Filipinas aimed to advance to the Round of 16. Building on the momentum of their thrilling 1-0 triumph over New Zealand, the first-ever Philippine football team, regardless of gender, to participate in the World Cup had their sights set on achieving the improbable.
Unfortunately for the Filipinas, Norway dominated the first encounter, showcasing their potent attacking capabilities. Sophie Roman Haug led the charge for the Norwegians with a hat trick, while Caroline Graham Hansen and Guro Reiten also added to the tally. The resounding 6-0 victory allowed Norway to secure second place in Group A, surpassing co-host New Zealand.
“We felt it was us against the world today, and we performed from the very start, delivering when we had to,” expressed Norway coach Hege Riise, highlighting the team’s determination and resilience in the match.
Despite the challenging defeat, the Philippine team displayed unwavering determination throughout the encounter. The Filipinas were disadvantaged when defender Sofia Harrison received a red card in the 67th minute for a foul on Norway’s Thea Bjelde.
Norway wasted no time asserting their dominance, opening the scoring in the sixth minute with a sensational volley from Sophie Roman Haug. Her early goal set the tone for a relentless attacking display from the Norwegian side.
Roman Haug continued her prolific performance, notching her second goal with a well-placed header in the 17th minute. Caroline Graham Hansen extended Norway’s lead with a goal from outside the box in the 31st minute. In contrast, a Philippines own goal further deepened the deficit for the Filipinas early in the second half. Guro Reiten sealed the victory for Norway with a converted penalty.
Reflecting on the match, Philippines coach Alen Stajcic acknowledged the spirit and determination of his team. “I’m proud of the heart and spirit of our team. They fought to the end; they fought to the death,” he remarked.
As the final whistle blew, the Filipinas left the field with their heads held high, having made history by representing their nation on the global stage of women’s football. Their remarkable journey in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 has undoubtedly inspired fans and future generations of Philippine football players. Despite the defeat, the team’s achievements and perseverance have left an indelible mark on the sport and the nation.