The Philippines made their FIFA Women’s World Cup debut on Friday, facing Switzerland in Dunedin. While the Filipinas are one of the lowest-ranked teams competing this summer, they’d feel they could clinch a shock result against a la Nati side that has struggled for form throughout 2023.
PHI: O. McDaniel; Harrison, Cowart, Long, Barker; Beard, Eggesvik, Sawicki, Quezada; Bolden, Guillou
SUI: Thalmann; Maritz, Stierli, Bühler, Aigbogun; Wälti; Sow, Piubel; Reuteler; Bachmann, Crnogorčević
As expected, the first goalscoring opportunity fell to Switzerland – as Reuteler looked to get onto the end of Bühler’s long ball over the top of the defence. McDaniel was aware and preempted the move though, leaping highest to claim the ball before the Swiss attacking midfielder could fire it home.
But just seconds later, it looked as though the Philippines had taken a surprise lead – with Guillou rounding the ‘keeper before tucking away a tidy effort, scoring the Filipinas’ first ever goal at the tournament. The euphoria was sadly shortlived though, with the striker judged to have been in an offside position as she received the ball.
Bachmann’s skill on the left flank allowed her to create just enough space to fire a cross towards the far post, but Crnogorčević struggled with the angle, ultimately allowing McDaniel to claim with relative ease.
Mere moments before the interval, Switzerland were awarded a chance to take the lead from the spot following Cowart’s late challenge on Sow. Up stepped Bachmann, who buried her effort beautifully – becoming the only Swiss player to have scored in all four of their major tournament appearances, with McDaniel failing to dive.
Switzerland’s lead seemed to instil a sense of confidence within the side as they emerged for the second half, keeping the Philippines pinned back into their own half. Yet despite a strong squad on paper, la Nati struggled to work the ball between the midfield and the front line – ultimately resorting to speculative strikes from distance.
But the constant pressure eventually paid off, with Piubel doubling Switzerland’s lead after a splendid double save from McDaniel. Crnogorčević’s initial effort was denied well by the ‘keeper, who recovered sensationally to block Sow’s follow-up – but it was third time lucky for Piubel and la Nati.
With a two-goal margin secured, Switzerland appeared to ease off the gas as the full-time whistle drew nearer. Maritz attempted a long-range strike in a bid to add a third goal, though her effort flew wide of the post without ever concerning McDaniel.
Switzerland’s win sees them top the Group A table, due to their superior goal margin. Group A action resumes on July 25, as New Zealand face the Philippines. Switzerland will face Norway on the same day, with la Nati able to seal their spot in the round-of-sixteen if they win that match.