The Philippine women’s national football team finally made it to the semifinals of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship on Friday, August 23, 2019, in Chonburi, Thailand, placing second in Group A after blanking Singapore, 4-0.
Nineteen-year-old forward Alisha del Campo scored a hat-trick, including an uncontested breakaway strike in the first minute, to lead against the Singaporeans en route to her tenth international goal.
A win or draw against the Singaporeans assured the Malditas of a semis birth on Sunday against two-time champion Vietnam despite losing yet again to three-time defending champion and reigning World Cup finalist Thailand last Wednesday, 2-4.
Their male counterparts have achieved this feat in 2010.
The Malditas, holding a 3-1 group stage record and an AFF-high +12 goal difference, trounced Malaysia and Timor-Leste last week, 3-0 and 7-0, respectively.
In the second game, Thailand blanked Malaysia, 7-0, to book a semis date with Myanmar. The Malditas are heavy underdogs among the final four teams, having failed to defeat the three other ASEAN powerhouses.
Their last match against Vietnam was a 0-5 shellacking in the 2018 AFF in Indonesia. The Malditas, though, have achieved new milestones. Aside from the AFF-high goal difference, they also tallied their biggest winning margin in AFF history (against Timor-Leste) and first-ever lead against Thailand (2-1 in the 66th minute of their game).
The Malditas are also fielding 16 of 23 homegrown athletes with an all-Filipino coaching staff.
*Photo courtesy of the ASEAN Football Federation