World Cup Preview: Ferns v Philippines

The Football Ferns have touched down in Te Whanganui A Tara Wellington ready for their second group game against World Cup newcomers Philippines.

While buoyed by that history-making night at Eden Park on Thursday, the Ferns have arrived in Wellington focused on making it two from two as they chase their goal of making it out of the group.

Today’s opponents Philippines have made significant strides in the last few years – going from playing two or three games a year, to  and have accordingly accelerated up the rankinghs. While denied a fairytale first World Cup goal in Otepohi Dunedin against Switzerland, they immediately proved they belong on the world stage, with a dogged and gritty performance winning over neutrals.

What’s New Zealands record against Philippines?

This will be the second time the Ferns have taken on Philippines, the first time being in LA last September, where goals from Meikayla Moore and Ali Riley sealed a 2-1 victory.

Jitka Klimková on the challenge that lies ahead

[There’s been] unbelievable growth, unbelievable improvement from the Philippijnes. We were shoccked in that first half [in September] – they were a different team that evening from when we scouted them

It’s great for women’s football taht we have opposition like the Philippines who are growing, they are pushing us and they are pushing everybody they play against. That’s always good for the game when we have competitive games. We know we are not going to have any easy games in the World Cup. Every opposition that we are facing, they have a reason to be here, they made the world cup. So we are very humble, we know it will be very hard, so that’s why we will be preparing for our game against Philippines in the same way we prepared against Norway.

“Playing against Philippines in September was very helpful, as we understand their principles, their tendencies, and that should help us to be successful.”

Malia Steinmetz on how she and her teammates view their second group game:

“We’re obviously up for the fight, it’s our home pitch, it’s New Zealand, this is our soil, so we’re going to come fighting no matter what team it is.

“It’s been one of the main reasons why we’ve trying to push so hard to play the way that we do. It’s for the younger generation coming through, and we want to inspire the country and I think you can see parts of that. We want to keep the ball rolling and keep inspiring more if we can.”

Team news

Klimková confirmed that all players were available for today’s game, including Michaela Foster despite her being managed for a minor thigh injury she’d picked up.

Ones to watch

A-League fans will be familiar with forward Sarina Bolden – Western Sydney Wanderers teammate of Malia Steinmetz – while Angela Beard is a former teammate of Claudia Bunge at Melbourne Victory, and a good friend of fellow former Matilda Indiah-Paige Riley.