'Most complete performance': Filipinas end Vietnam hoodoo to reach title match – Rappler

MATCH HERO. Sarina Bolden celebrates after scoring a brace for the Philippines against Vietnam.
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine women’s football team continues to carve out more pieces of history following its remarkable 4-0 victory over reigning champion Vietnam in the semifinal of the AFF Women’s Championship 2022.
“Probably our most complete performance,” said Filipinas head coach Alen Stajcic after the huge upset on Friday night, July 15.
The former Australia national team tactician noted that the triumph over world No. 32 Vietnam might have been the best performance by a Philippine women’s football team in the international stage, and he wants the players to be proud of themselves.
“It’s a great performance,” he said. “It’s a landmark in terms of beating probably the best team in Southeast Asia.”
Heading into the semifinal clash, the Vietnamese were penciled in as the heavy favorites to proceed to the final due to their mastery over the Filipinas in recent years.
Vietnam whipped the Philippines, 5-0, in the AFF Women’s Championship 2018, then snatched a 2-1 comeback triumph in the Southeast Asian Games last May.
But even after the Filipinas ended their hoodoo against the regional powerhouse, Stajcic emphasized that the Vietnamese are still the finest team in Southeast Asia. 
“Just because we beat them once, doesn’t mean they’re not,” he said.  “We’ve only beaten them once and they’ve beaten us many times, so you got to give credit to their football development, but our night is tonight.”
Stajcic admitted that as much as he’s elated with their stunning triumph, he wants to temper his emotions as they still have one final match to play.
The Philippines will take on another regional giant in Thailand in the championship match on Sunday, July 17 at 7:30 pm at the Rizal Memorial Stadium.
“[We] haven’t got a long time to recover,” said Stajcic. “We’re going to enjoy [our semifinal win], but really switch onto the final now.”
The Filipinas will play for a gold medal for the first time after settling for semifinal finishes in  the AFC Asian Cup 2022 and the Southeast Asian Games the past months.
“I know that this is just a stepping stone… in this team growing and becoming better and better, and it’s important as we evolve to become better every single time that we play,” said Stajcic.
“We showed tonight that we’ve reached a new milestone and now we’re looking forward to the final and really see if we could take a little bit of revenge out on Thailand after they beat us the other night.” – Rappler.com
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