Asian Games 2023: Filipinas brace for tough challenge from South Korea

After a relatively smooth 3-1 win over Hong Kong last Friday, the Philippine women’s football team, better known as the Filipinas, face a tougher task against Group E top seed South Korea on Sunday night, September 24, in the 19th Asian Games.

“There is no doubt South Korea is a top side,” Filipinas coach Mark Torcaso said ahead of the 7:30 p.m. match at the Wenzhou Sports Center, more than two hours away by bullet train from the main hub.

Torcaso, getting his real baptism of fire with the Philippine squad after taking over fellow Australian Alen Stajcic following the team’s historic stint in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand, has done his homework.

Katrina Guillou (in blue) of the PH Women's national team [PR photo]
Katrina Guillou (in blue) of the PH Women’s national team [PR photo]

It’s time to execute

“They’re (South Koreans) very good in possession. But there are small gaps that we can expose and if we do it right, we’ll get our chance. But we also have to be very disciplined and be smart tactically,” he said.

But discipline is something the Filipinas have plenty of as shown in their remarkable debut in the World Cup, highlighted by a huge win over the host team, and the runup to this Asian Games.

Three nights ago, the Filipinas kicked off their campaign with a convincing win marked by goals from Sarina Bolden, Quinley Quesada and Katrina Guillou, all veterans of the FIFA World Cup.

The South Koreans will rely on their own World Cup squad in their bid to get to the podium here following a bronze-medal finish in the 2018 Asian Games behind powerhouse Japan and China.

The Koreans will head to the match against the Filipinas riding the momentum of a 4-0 win over Myanmar and, looking back, a 1-1 draw with Germany in the World Cup that was won by Spain.

The Filipinas will have to find a way to control the South Koreans, who scored a 2-0 victory the last time the two teams met in the AFC Asian Cup last year.

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