Philippine Malditas earn historic FIFA World Cup berth

We are off to the 2023 FIFA World Cup for the first time in PH women’s football history (Philippine Football Federation photo)

By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña

After years of heartbreak, tears, and disappointments, the Philippine women’s football team can finally call themselves FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The PH Malditas fought with their all and outlasted the Chinese Taipei national team, 1-1 (4-3) after an intense penalty shootout during the quarterfinal stage of the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.

Malditas’ top four qualification in the Asian Cup earned them an outright seat for the upcoming 2023 FIFA World Cup and a chance for the Philippine women’s team to win their first-ever continental tournament title.

From the get-go, the PH Malditas were locked-in offensively and were close in drawing first blood at the 8:57 mark when striker Sarina Bolden cruised past the Chinese Taipei backline but her attempt from the left side of the pitch was off.

Eight minutes later, Chinese Taipei would retaliate with their own offensive execution as their crisp one-touch passing created a wide-open shot but was saved by Malditas’ goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel.

The first goal of the match for the Philippines was courtesy of Quinley Quezada after converting on a wild sequence inside the penalty box when she tapped the ball with her left leg that found the back of the net.

With only nine minutes left in the match, a jaw-dropping long goal from Chinese Taipei was able to get past McDaniel that tied the game at one-all.

30 minutes of extension wasn’t enough to separate the two talented teams that went to a crucial penalty shootout.

The Philippines were immediately placed in a difficult position after Jessica Miclat missed her penalty attempt, giving Chinese Taipei a window of opportunity to grab a 3-2 lead off a conversion from Chen Ying-Hui.

However, a quick reversal of fortunes happened when Chinese Taipei’s last two penalty attempts failed to convert that paved the way for the Philippines to generate two more goals.

Eager to bounce back after fumbling her goal attempt in the first nine minutes of the match, Bolden took the last penalty attempt for the Malditas that secured them the win and the historic FIFA World Cup seat.

Despite the huge win and the milestone achieved, the Malditas still can’t relax as they will still vie for Asian Cup glory when they take on Korea in the semifinals.