FIFA World Cup

Bolden smashes first PH World Cup goal as Filipinas stun New Zealand

Juro Morilla, Reuters

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Bolden smashes first PH World Cup goal as Filipinas stun New Zealand

HISTORIC. Philippines' Sarina Bolden celebrates scoring their first goal.

Amanda Perobelli/REUTERS

(2nd UPDATE) Sarina Bolden makes history, scoring the Philippines’ first goal in the FIFA World Cup as the Filipinas stay alive with a huge upset of New Zealand

WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Sarina Bolden made history for the Philippines as the forward headed the winner, powering the Filipinas to their first ever FIFA World Cup victory and spoiling host New Zealand’s party with a stunning 1-0 victory in their Group A clash on Tuesday, July 25.

The Filipinas – the first Philippine football team, male or female, to reach the World Cup – also became the first debutant to score a goal in this edition’s tournament.

“I think they showed true heart, bringing out their puso, which means heart in Tagalog,” said Philippine coach Alen Stajcic in the post-match interview.

The Philippines lost 2-0 to Switzerland in their opening match and looked to be an easy mark for the Football Ferns, who were coming off their first ever World Cup win over former champion Norway and looking to book a spot in the last 16.

Instead, the Philippines secured its own first World Cup win to keep alive their hopes of progressing in their debut tournament.

New Zealand did not lack in effort but had seemingly lost the magic touch of its historic opener and missed a series of goalscoring opportunities.

Striker Bolden made them pay for their profligacy in the 24th minute when she got up well to fire a header directly at New Zealand keeper Victoria Esson, who fumbled it into the net to give the Philippines their first ever World Cup goal.

With the win, the 46th-ranked Filipinas now have 3 points and a -1 goal difference after playing two games.

World No. 26 New Zealand, meanwhile, stayed at 3 points and will play Switzerland for its final group stage match.

Frenetic finish

Roared on by 32,357 crowd at Wellington Regional Stadium, the Ferns dominated possession as they poured forward looking for an equalizer.

Defender Katie Bowen sent a shot wide to the left in the 38th minute and co-captain Ria Percival’s shot rolled straight at the Philippines keeper Olivia McDaniel in first-half stoppage time.

In the 58th minute, defender CJ Bott looped a cross into the box but Hannah Wilkinson, the hero of New Zealand’s opening win on Thursday, sent her header over the bar.

Ten minutes later, Wilkinson did well to drag the ball back from the byline and crossed for forward Jacqui Hand to head it into the net, only for the referee to call it back for offside.

In a frenetic finish, Philippine striker Carleigh Frilles also got the ball into net from an offside position and New Zealand’s Grace Jale was foiled from close range by a fine McDaniel save.

The Philippines closes out its Group A against 1995 champion Norway on Sunday, while New Zealand faces Switzerland.

Five-player defense

Only the top two teams in each group will advance to the Round of 16 and will play one-off matches until the end of the tournament.

Stajcic changed his formation from the previous match as he went for a 5-3-2 formation, but kept the same Philippine players in the starting lineup.

McDaniel continued to guard the goal, but this time, she had a five-player defense in front of her as Angela Beard joined the back four of Jessika Cowart, match day team captain Hali Long, Sofia Harrison, and Alicia Barker.

Bolden and Katrina Guillou still led the attack, while Jaclyn Sawicki, Sara Eggesvik, and Quinley Quezada formed a three-player midfield.

New Zealand held majority of the possession throughout the first half and had multiple shot attempts to draw first blood, but most of its shots were off target and were unable to find an equalizer heading to the break.

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The second half began with a couple of changes from New Zealand as Olivia Chance and Annalie Longo entered the match for Indiah-Paige Riley and Betsy Hassett.

A yellow card for Philippines’ Beard followed soon at the 49th minute as the home squad continued to put pressure on the Filipinas backline for an equalizer.

Hannah Wilkinson and Jacqui Hand each had an attempt at the 58’ and 64’ marks respectively, but their efforts went over the bar and hit the post as they stayed scoreless.

At the 68th minute, Hand drilled in a header from a Wilkinson cross, but after a two-minute review by the referees, the goal was disallowed as it was called offside.

In response to New Zealand’s flurry of attacks, Stajcic brought in multiple substitutes to protect their slim advantage.

Tahnai Annis, Dominique Randle, Carleigh Frilles, and Ryley Bugay all entered the match in the final 17 minutes to see out the match and keep the tournament hosts at bay.

In the closing minutes, the Filipinas thought they had scored their second goal at the World Cup, but the goal of Frilles was flagged offside.

The 1-0 advantage though was enough for them to secure all 3 points and record a historic win at the world’s biggest football stage. –

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