For the proud Malditas, they will enjoy the memorable times in the AFC Women's Asian Cup as they play for the final Women's World Cup spot. Mia Montayre/Philippine Football Federation
By Kevin Estrada
MANILA--The Philippines had nothing to lose and everything to gain in their final match of the AFC Women's Asian Cup, as they are set to face South Korea in the fifth-place playoff Tuesday midnight (Philippine Time).
Everyone in the Malditas, from the manager to the players, are in a carefree mood in Amman as they will end their stint in the Hashemite Kingdom with the best showing regardless of the result.
Rabah Benlarbi was not in the mood for the results, but he was focused on the learning experience that they will bring when they come back home after the tournament, as they are miraculously 90 minutes away from making it happen..
“The Philippines have absolutely nothing to lose as nobody really expected us to be in the position that we find ourselves in,” said the Frenchman, who masterminded the lone upset of the tournament on opening day against the host nation before ending the group stage with back-to-back defeats against China and Thailand.
Benlarbi wished to make the dream of coaching the Malditas in his home nation come true should they create the shocker against the side that are 56 ranks higher than them.
“We must give our all, as we have 90 minutes to reach the World Cup, it is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime moment for my players,” he added .
He was then shocked that the Taeguk Nangja only end up in third in the Group of Death after putting solid defensive work against Japan and Australia and only went on attack mode by firing four past a hapless Vietnam side on the final day.
“I am a little surprised to be playing Korea Republic as they were one of the best teams in Group B and deserved, in my opinion, to go to the semi-finals and of course the World Cup.”
Right-back Jessie Shugg does not mind the result as she expects everyone to go all out one last time.
“My motivation is my team,” shared Shugg. “We’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain. No matter what happens we’re going to work our asses off until the final whistle.”
Follow him on Twitter: @KevinLEstrada