This marks the Philippines’ first ever World Cup victory
By Amy Tennery | Photos by Amanda Perobelli/Reuters
Wellington (Reuters) – Forward Sarina Bolden headed the winner as the Philippines spoiled co-hosts New Zealand’s party with a stunning 1-0 victory in their Women’s World Cup Group A clash on Tuesday.
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 champions Norway and looking to book a spot in the last 16.
“It means everything to us,” said Philippines goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel. “I think we really put our head down and we knew what was coming at us tonight.”
New Zealand did not lack in effort but had seemingly lost the magic touch of their 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.
Roared on by the 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 McDaniel in first-half stoppage time.
In the 58th minute, defender C.J. 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, Philippines striker Carleigh Frilles also got the ball into the net from an offside position and New Zealand’s Grace Jale was foiled from close range by a fine McDaniel save.
“Our goal was to inspire our nation and it was not the result that we wanted but the fight and the passion was definitely there tonight,” said New Zealand coach Jitka Klimkova.
“It is heartbreaking but this is not over yet… we still have time to reset and refocus.”
The Philippines close out their Group A against 1995 winners Norway on Sunday, while New Zealand face Switzerland.
(Reporting by Amy Tennery in Wellington, Editing by Nick Mulvenney and Muralikumar Anantharaman)