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Malditas' historic FIFA WWC berth sets new bar for PH football greatness says Alen Stajcic

Alen Stajcic sees the Malditas' FIFA Women's World Cup qualification as the new barometer for Philippine football success. AFC
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA—Coach Alen Stajcic believes that the Philippine women's football team's stint in the AFC Women's Asian Cup would surely shake up how Philippine football greatness should be defined.

With the Malditas now qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup, Stajcic thinks they just set the new barometer on how successful a national football team should be.

"It's an unbelievable achievement by the group. It's a moment in history for the country. You cannot take that away from the group. It's a new bar that's been set. And now, every young kid can play more back home in the Philippines now that they could be inspired to get to the World Cup themselves," Stajcic said early Monday (Philippine Time), moments after the Malditas clinched a WAC semifinals berth and a place in the WWC through a penalty shootout win against Chinese Taipei in Pune, India.

[Related Story: Malditas punch historic FIFA WWC ticket after beating Chinese Taipei in penalties]

The Malditas overcame late-game adversities from Zhuo Li-Ping's late goal that sent the match to extra time to going down 2-3 in the shootout to arrive at this moment.

Stajcic lauded his players for stepping up and not giving up despite the shootout deficit.

"They're the ones who are brave enough and have the courage to step up. There's not one player who said they didn't want to take the penalty. They all put their hands up," he further said. "That's all down to the players in dealing with the pressure of the moment, and winning the moment is extremely important for that team."

Stajcic thinks this should inspire the younger footballers to never give up on their dreams.

"I know that the group is really proud of each other knowing that they're gonna be more proud that they've inspired the next generation," he added.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno

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