Amidst a 7-2 demolition in their final game against Laos, the Philippine national women’s football team, also known as Malditas, bowed out of contention at the AFF Women’s Championship in Myanmar.
Grouped with the Japanese Under-23 team, Laos, Indonesia and host Myanmar; Malditas managed to rank 3rd in the group, just outside the top two places that are granted a berth to the semifinal round. Japan U23 team topped the group, while host Myanmar ticketed the 2nd spot.
They started their campaign on a high note, by thrashing Indonesia 6-0 on their first game amidst fielding many teenagers and missing some of the key players.
Hope was high when they faced Japan U23 team on their second game. But the Japanese team, whose senior team is number 3 in the world, proved to be too strong for the girls, and ended with a 4-1 score.
Their third game against Myanmar was the most anticipated game for Malditas, because a win against Myanmar would mean higher possibility of making it to the semifinal round. But the girls committed too many mistakes at the first part of the game. Although the girls played harder in the 2nd half, the ball did not bounce their way. They hit the post twice, and missed an open goal coming from a great cross. The match then ended with 5-1 score, in favor of Myanmar.
Malditas’ final game against Laos was another story. The national team was in all-out attack mode for 90 minutes, and demolished Laos, 7-2.
Winning two games and losing two is an achievement for our young team; not to mention that they scored in all of their games; and this campaign is the most that the team has scored ever in any competition in the Philippine Women’s football history. Not only that, Joana V. Houplin is a candidate for Golden Boot award after scoring 8 goals in the entire championship.
Heads high Malditas! You may have not entered the semifinal round at this year’s AFF Women’s Championship, but the team’s future is looking brighter than ever!
A podium finish in this year’s SEA Games in Myanmar is definitely within reach!
Photo Credit: Mavee Park