Philippine football

Olympic football dream ends: How the Filipinas’ Paris bid fell short

Juro Morilla

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Olympic football dream ends: How the Filipinas’ Paris bid fell short

TOUGH FIGHT. The Philippines' Sofia Harrison (center) disputes the ball against Iran.


The Philippine women’s football team misses a chance to claim a slot in the third round of the Asian qualifiers, ending the country’s hopes of securing a historic berth in the 2024 Paris Olympics

MANILA, Philippines – The country’s Olympic football dream ends for now.  

With the Philippine women’s football team scoring a win against Iran, 1-0, in the last game of its second-round campaign in the 2024 AFC Women’s Olympic Tournament, the Filipinas had hoped to advance to the next round to keep their campaign alive. 

But the last spot went to Uzbekistan, which joined group topnotchers Australia, North Korea, and Japan in the third and final phase of the Asian qualifiers for the 2024 Paris Olympics. 

Only the three group winners and the runner-up with the best record secured the berths.

The 44th-ranked Filipinas had a chance after finishing second in Group A with 6 points and a -4 goal difference after three matches on Wednesday, November 1, in Australia.

But the Filipinas had to wait for their fate, needing three scenarios to happen to advance: China draws with South Korea; Japan wins or draws over Vietnam; and India wins or draws over Uzbekistan.

Although the first two scenarios happened, world No. 50 Uzbekistan pulled through against India to edge out the Philippines for the final spot. 

Uzbekistan defeated India, 3-0, in the last match, a crucial win that hiked up their tally to 6 points and improved their goal difference to +2.

So even if the Filipinas held the same points tally, the Uzbeks’ goal difference proved superior to usurp the Philippines in the ranking for best group runner-up.

A massive 8-0 loss to Australia proved to be the deciding factor as the Filipinas lost the goal difference that they gained from their 4-1 win over Chinese Taipei.

South Korea, the other Group B runner-up, registered 5 points and a +9 goal difference to finish behind Uzbekistan and the Philippines.

Led by Sarina Bolden, the Philippines had a strong start to the Olympic qualifiers with a sweep of the first round.

Filipinas head coach Mark Torcaso, who’s calling the shots for the country in just his second tournament, said they still have to assess what’s next for the team after a busy year highlighted by a historic World Cup stint and a quarterfinal appearance in the Asian Games last September.

“It’s a bit of a quiet start of the year (2024) for this national team and I think for most national teams, unless you’re in the Olympics,” said Torcaso. “Yeah, we’ll just sort of build on what’s coming in the next sort of six to 12 months.” –

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