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Filipinas targets four points against tough Group A foes

NOTING marked improvements by the Filipinas over the last 18 months, Philippine Football Federation President Nonong Araneta said the prospect looks good for the debutants in next week’s FIFA Women’s World Cup (WWC) in New Zealand.

“I’m confident they will do well in New Zealand and hopefully, they’ll progress to the next round,” Mr. Araneta said as the Filipinas entered the final stretch of their buildup in Auckland ahead of their July 21 kickoff game against Switzerland.

“They have prepared well, they won’t go there to participate but to compete. And I hope we’ll get four points — that’s the target, actually,” said Mr. Araneta. “Hopefully against Switzerland, we get one point. Against New Zealand, I think we’re not far behind. We played them in LA before (in a September 2022 friendly) and we lost, 2-1, but we were leading 1-nil. Hopefully, with the experience they have now, they will do well against New Zealand. Against Norway, well, anything can happen in football.”

Since clinching a historic WWC berth via a semifinal finish at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in January 2022, the Filipinas have undergone an extensive buildup in Australia, Tajikistan, Spain, Chile and the United States.

The Alen Stajcic-mentored Filipinas will have one major pre-World Cup test against world No. 3 Sweden in Wellington on Monday before plunging into actual battle in the football showpiece. — Olmin Leyba

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