Although the Philippine women’s football team may have fallen short of advancing beyond the 2023 FIFA World Cup group stage, their remarkable debut on the sport’s grandest stage has left a lasting impact and ignited a new wave of inspiration. The Filipinas view their inaugural World Cup experience as a catalyst for future growth, both on the field and in the hearts of Filipinos nationwide.
Despite not making it to the knockout rounds, the Filipinas are already looking forward with determination and optimism. Their journey at the World Cup has fueled their commitment to future tournaments and has strengthened their resolve to promote football in a nation traditionally dominated by basketball.
Filipino-American goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel expressed the team’s sentiment: “We’re definitely gonna try and get back here (World Cup) in the next four years; this isn’t the end of the Filipinas. We have a lot more in us, and we’ve got many tournaments going on for the rest of this year, so it’s not the end; we’re excited to keep going.”
Norway, the team that ended the Filipinas’ World Cup campaign with a 6-0 loss, finished second in Group A behind Switzerland. As they move on to the Round of 16, the Filipinas reflect on their defining moment during the tournament – a historic 1-0 victory over host New Zealand through Sarina Bolden’s header. This triumph marked the first time a debutant country in the 2023 World Cup scored a goal and secured a win.
Despite their exit, Sara Eggesvik, the player who assisted Bolden’s goal, expressed positivity about the team’s journey. She acknowledged that while some teams took years to win their first World Cup match, the Filipinas achieved this feat in their debut appearance. The team’s performance demonstrated their ability to compete with top countries, leaving a lasting impact on the global stage.
The Filipinas recognized the resurgence of interest in Philippine football, with their historic run sparking new fans and garnering attention through watch parties nationwide. The players hope to inspire young boys and girls in the Philippines to take up football, fostering the sport’s growth in the country.
Sara Eggesvik, a Filipino-Norwegian with roots in Davao, said, “I hope that we can inspire children, boys and girls, in the Philippines to play football, and hopefully, it will grow.” Olivia McDaniel echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the tangible nature of their achievement and the potential for football dreams to become a reality.
The team aims to continue building on its impact through grassroots programs and initiatives. Katrina Guillou, a Filipino-French forward, highlighted the transformative potential of their performance. “To see that type of impact we have, and hopefully [it carries] through the grassroots program,” she said. “I think it’s spectacular to see, especially in the future.”
As the Filipinas move forward from their historic World Cup journey, their determination to inspire and promote the growth of Philippine football remains unwavering. Their debut may have marked the beginning of a new era for the sport in the nation, capturing hearts and paving the way for a brighter future.