Malditas battle South Korea for FIFA World Cup berth


In its last chance to qualify for the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) Women’s World Cup 2019, the Philippines will go all-out against powerhouse South Korea in the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Asian Cup 2018 fifth place playoff early Tuesday at the Amman International Stadium in Jordan.

The Malditas tackle the two-time World Cup veterans Taegeuk Nangja in the battle of group third placers, with Asia’s final ticket to France at stake in the 1 a.m. (Philippine time) clash.

Despite pitted against world ranked No. 16 South Korea, head coach Rabah Benlarbi remains upbeat of the No. 71 national squad’s chances of entering the world’s highest tourney.

Malditas’ Jessica Miclat (left) battles Warunee Phetwiset of Thailand during the group stage of the Asian Football Conf deration Women’s Asian Cup 2018 at the King Abdullah 2nd Stadium in Amman, Jordan. PHOTO FROM AFC.COM BY JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA

“We still have a chance (to qualify for the Women’s World Cup). It’s not yet over for us. We will go out and try to play without pressure,” said Benlarbi.

The Philippines wound up at Group A’s third spot with three points as it yielded to China and Thailand following a rousing debut over host Jordan.

South Korea, on the other hand, emerged as Group B’s No. 3 with five markers and only an inferior goal difference to top seed Australia and second placer Japan.

The Korean booters settled for goalless draws with Australia and Japan before pulling off a 4-0 romp over Vietnam.

After narrowly missing out on an outright slot to the international tilt, coach Yoon Duk-Yeo is eager to put a fitting end to their unfinished business.

“The game against the Philippines is, of course, a very important game for us. Because of that, we need to respect our upcoming opponents and put all our efforts into winning the game so that we can go to fifth place playoff toward the World Cup,” said Yoon.

Lee Min-a, Cho So-hyun and Lee Geum-min are tabbed to lead South Korea anew while the Philippines will rely on Sarina Bolden, Jesse Shugg and Hali Long.


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