MANILA: The Philippines celebrated on Wednesday the victory of its national team that won the country’s first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup game.
The Filipinos made history by beating the tournament’s co-host New Zealand 1-0 on Tuesday afternoon at the Sky Stadium in Wellington.
The goal by US-born 27-year-old forward Sarina Bolden put the squad ahead in the 24th minute and the team kept their defense firm for the rest of the match.
The goal was the country’s first in the competition’s history.
Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. took to Twitter to congratulate the team “on their historic triumph” and “momentous first-ever world cup win for the Philippines.”
The 22-strong women’s team is debuting in the FIFA tournament after winning qualifying matches in the Asian Cup in 2022.
Both their win and appearance have sent waves of joy and excitement back home.
“As a woman, my emotions were so intense,” said Teresita Gangan, a lieutenant colonel in the Philippine army. “I watched Bolden’s goal over and over. I even teared a little. Such an amazing feat for the Filipinos. They truly deserve it.”
Evelyn Mondagon Lopez, a homemaker from Pasig City, has been watching the team’s games online with her friends.
“We were really screaming here while watching the game,” she said. “I am super happy and proud of our team not just winning the game yesterday but also competing for the World Cup. They earned it.”
Stella Angi, a student from Paranaque, was also excited that it was the women’s team that made history.
“Very proud of our athletes. For the longest time, Filipinos were very optimistic about the guys’ team and it turns out that these women will be the key to making FIFA history. Their journey was very lowkey, but look at them making waves now,” she told Arab News.
“Win or lose in the next rounds, that was a moment of greatness right there.”
The Filipinos will try to build on the win when they take on Norway at the New Zealand’s national stadium Eden Park on Sunday.
James Mananghaya, a Filipino living and working in New Zealand, is going to watch the game in Auckland.
“I will rally behind the girls all the way, either in the stadium or at home. It is special because the team put the Philippines in the global football scene and also being a previously male-dominated sport. They proved that Filipinos can do it!” he said.
“It makes you believe in hope that we can dream big and that we can make it happen. Also, it makes you feel really proud of where you came from, regardless of where and what you do now.”