Monday 31 January 2022, 08:00

Stajcic: Qualification an unbelievable achievement for the Philippines

  • The Philippines qualified for the FIFA Women’s World Cup yesterday

  • It is the country’s first global finals for either gender

  • Coach Alen Stajcic was full of praise for his players afterwards

Philippines coach Alen Stajcic has hailed his players for the “once-in-a-lifetime” achievement of qualifying for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023™.

Next year’s showpiece will be the country’s first major global tournament for either men or women, and the Malditas sealed their place the hard way at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, enduring 120 gruelling minutes against Chinese Taipei before prevailing in the nerviest of penalty shootouts.

But the way to that breakthrough success had been paved by group-stage victories over Thailand and Indonesia, the first of which was especially significant, leaving a beaming Stajcic to reflect on taking his place in history.

"It's an unbelievable achievement by the group," enthused the former Australia coach. "It's a moment in history for the country and no one can ever take that away from us. It's a new bar that's been set

"Now every young kid, girl and boy, back in the Philippines knows they can be inspired and get to a World Cup themselves. I know the group is really proud of each other but I know they're even more proud that they've inspired the next generation."

Next up for the Philippines is a semi-final against the Korea Republic team that ousted Australia, Stajcic’s former charges, from the Asian Cup in a significant upset.

The Malditas coach, however, was keen to enjoy the moment before worrying about the formidable challenge that the Taegeuk Nangja will pose.

"I'm not even worried about the semi-final at the moment," he said. "I usually wouldn't say that, but we've just qualified for the World Cup and we're going to enjoy that.

"It's a remarkable achievement - it's a once-in-a-lifetime one that's never been done before. So you just really have to soak up these moments."