Filipinas football fifa women's world cup

Filipinas during first training in New Zealand.

The Philippine women’s football team, despite the overwhelming odds it is facing ahead of the Filipinas’ maiden Fifa (International Association Football Federation) Women’s World Cup campaign, is not just going to roll over and die, with coskipper Tahnai Annis promising that they would make the most of the chances they get—no matter how small they are.

“We know that any World Cup game is going to be anyone’s biggest game,” Annis said in a recent interview with Fifa.com. “And we also all know that on any given day, any team can show up and beat another team.”

Oddmakers and pundits see the Filipinas as one of the teams that won’t come out of Group A, where they are bracketed with Switzerland, cohost New Zealand and Norway.

Fanduel, an online sports betting site in the United States, listed the Philippines with a +240 odds to win the World Cup, while most online observers are seeing the team dropping all three group stage assignments.

A Group A preview by FoxSports.com said that “getting out of the group would be like winning the World Cup” for the Filipinas, the preview citing the country’s inexperience playing in Fifa’s centerpiece tournament as a big disadvantage.

“All of these teams—Norway, Switzerland and New Zealand—are great on paper and have historically done well and have so much experience,” Annis said.

“So, we know what we’re up against, but the ball could bounce any way on any different day. We have to do everything we can to prepare so we can put our best foot forward when that day comes,” added the midfielder.

Long build up

Annis and the Filipinas see their familiarity during the 18-month buildup as one of the keys for them to least put up a good impression against some of the world’s top women’s football nations.

“We are definitely a rookie team in terms of playing in our first World Cup, but this group has been around for a good amount of time,” said Annis. “We have a core group of veterans who have been leading the way. And then we’ve been picking up new players along the way who are ready and preparing with us.

“We have a good combination of experienced players, new players, young talent, older talent.

“I think we have a good, diverse mixture of experience and youth,” Annis added.

The Filipinas are now less than a week away from opening their highly-anticipated World Cup campaign.

But they’ll get a first taste of that kind of play on Monday when they battle Sweden in a closed-door training match in Wellington.

Then it will be off to Dunedin as the Philippines begins tournament play against Switzerland, one of those expected to be among the two teams to progress to the knockout stages.

Cohost New Zealand is next on July 25 in Wellington, a match that could give the Philippines a chance to get a tie if their friendly match last year in the United States can be gauged.

The Filipinas took a halftime lead before falling short to the Kiwis, 2-1, in Fullerton, California.

Norway will be the Filipinas’ last match on July 30 in Auckland.

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