Philippines makes history in stunning World Cup upset

Aussie coach Alen Stajcic says he was covered in everyone’s tears when his current team, the Philippines, made history in a stunning World Cup victory.

The debut team defeated host nation New Zealand 1-0 in Wellington on Tuesday.

It was the Philippines’ first victory at either a men’s or women’s World Cup and Stajcic said it was the country’s greatest sporting achievement.

Australian-based Sarina Bolden will go down in history as the Philippines’ first-ever male or female goal scorer.

The goal was a Filipina first with a Western Sydney flavour — it’s where coach Alen Stajcic was raised and scorer Bolden plays her club football for the Wanderers.

Stajcic, who was unceremoniously sacked as Matildas coach in 2019, said he had “everyone else’s tears all over my eyes” as he celebrated after the game.

“How can you beat that? Beating the host nation in a World Cup,” he said.

Sarina Bolden and teammates are ecstatic after the Philippines scored its first-ever goal. Photo: Getty

Stajcic likened the victory to national hero and legendary boxer Manny Pacquiao’s achievements.

“It’s just a special moment in the history of Philippines team sport,” he said.

“I don’t know if there’s been a bigger win. Obviously Pacquiao individually but for team sport, it would have to be one of the best achievements in the history of the country.”

Stajcic also declared the win as the finest moment of his footballing career.

“To think we’ve done it in our second match at our first World Cup, you can’t really appreciate how far we’ve come,” Stajcic said.

“It’s pretty raw. It was very emotional out on the pitch. Just seeing just about everyone, every staff member, every player crying.”

Bolden’s powerful first-half header sealed the match for the Philippines.

A resurgent New Zealand thought they had an equaliser when Jacqui Hand netted a looping header, only for Hannah Wilkinson to be deemed fractionally offside in the build-up.

The goal was ruled out following a video referee review more than a minute after wild celebrations, popping the Kiwis’ balloon.

Olivia McDaniel then produced the save of a lifetime, diving low to her left to deny Grace Jale’s volley to preserve the Philippines win.

New Zealand had the best of a physical encounter but couldn’t find a rhythm amid the Philippines’ dogged defending.

Bolden punished the Kiwis on 24 minutes, climbing above Rebekah Stott and heading Sara Eggesvik’s cross straight at Vic Esson with such power the Rangers goalkeeper fumbled it into the net.

The result took the Philippines level with New Zealand and Switzerland in Group A on three points.

Despite playing on enemy territory, the Philippines had plenty of support among the 32,357-strong crowd.

Olivia Chance and Annalie Longo were injected at half-time as the Ferns chased an equaliser.

Opening night hero Wilkinson – guilty of a nasty first-half challenge on Sofia Harrison – was just shy on 58 minutes, getting to CJ Bott’s cross ahead of McDaniel but heading just high.

Chance was playing a blinder and played an exceptional ball for Hand, who thundered a first-time shot against the post.

On 68 minutes the Football Ferns thought their moment had arrived, only for VAR to halt celebrations after Hand had the ball in the net.

From that point on, the die appeared cast, with McDaniel proving as much with her incredible fingertip save in added time.


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