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‘Pure magic’: McDaniel raves over Filipino fan turnout at FIFA Women’s World Cup

Ralph Edwin Villanueva - Philstar.com
âPure magicâ: McDaniel raves over Filipino fan turnout at FIFA Womenâs World Cup
The Philippines' goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel (right) and teammates greet supporters after winning against New Zealand in their Australia and New Zealand 2023 Women's World Cup Group A football match at Wellington Stadium, also known as Sky Stadium, in Wellington on July 25, 2023.
Marty Melville / AFP

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine contingent at the Wellington Regional Stadium made the Philippine women’s national football team’s FIFA World Cup match against New Zealand feel like a home game, goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel said.

McDaniel, who was named Player of the Match in the Filipinas’ historic win against the host nation, said the Filipino fans who watched the game “absolutely” fired the team up.

“I think [the Filipino crowd] helped in our win against New Zealand. [The local fans] may have outnumbered us, but it did not feel like it,” she told reporters a few moments after arriving in the Philippines Wednesday afternoon.

“To have so many of our kababayans there, it felt like a home game at Rizal [Memorial Sports Complex], on home soil. So, it was pure magic,” she added.

The Philippines won 1-0 against New Zealand on July 25.

Sarina Bolden made the first goal of the Philippines in the World Cup, while McDaniel thwarted various attempts by New Zealand.

They Filipinas, however, crashed out of the tournament after a 6-0 defeat to World No. 12 Norway.

Meanwhile, the goalkeeper also underscored that they learned a lot of things playing against strong opponents in the tournament.

“We played against such strong opposition and it’s only gonna help us grow as a team and make us better to play against teams that are so strong and have such talent,” she said.

“It is only gonna make us better in the long run,” she added.

For her part, Filipinas defender Angie Beard, in an Instagram post, vowed they “will be back.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Angie Beard (@angiebeard8)

“It’s taken a couple days for it to really sink in what the World Cup has meant for me, for the team and the nation we play our hearts out for. To play against the best players in the world with some of the best people I know is something that I will take with me forever,” Beard said.

“I am not only grateful for the opportunity but for the support from everyone who followed along this journey and for those who have been there for me in my entire journey. After what may go down as some of the hardest months of my life leading into the World Cup, I am endlessly proud of what we’ve achieved. We will be back,” she added.

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