With nothing to lose, Filipina booters try to stand ground vs fancied Aussies

Luisa Morales - Philstar.com
With nothing to lose, Filipina booters try to stand ground vs fancied Aussies
Philippine defender Hali Long (L) shared her thoughts on their clash against Australia slated on Monday

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines remains unfazed as their clash against powerhouse Australia looms in the AFC Women's Asian Cup.

This despite knowing they are tremendous underdogs against the World No. 11 Matildas.

According to co-captain Hali Long, the Filipinas are approaching the match with their heads down.

"We'll try our hardest. I mean, [we'll] make all the sacrifices we need to make — starting from our strikers all the way to the defense, and we just have to try our very best to close them down," Long told Philippine media on Saturday.

"I'm sure a good team like that will still get through and capitalize on our lapses, but we have nothing to lose and we have everything to prove about where we're at, where our level's at," she added.

Australia pounded a hapless Indonesian side on Friday, 18-0, with the Matildas asserting their dominance in the region.

Rather than taking the result as an inevitability of a loss against the Aussies, Long looks to come out with the unexpected.

'We shut down their attack'

The Philippines is heading to their fixture against Australia buoyed by their historic win over Thailand.

Taking the victory, 1-0, the Filipina booters barged into the win column against the Thais for the first time in 13 contests.

And Long, as a defender, played a critical role in subduing their opponents.

"I think we did pretty well, we were very organized," Long said of the backline who also earned the praise of head coach Alen Stajcic.

"I think we shut down their attack for the most part. There were some lapses but Thailand didn't capitalize on that," she added.

Now, with a much more capable offense on the horizon against Australia, Long said she has renewed drive -- especially going against players like Sam Kerr.

"It's definitely more motivation. I'm nervous, but I feel like I'll channel that a different way come game day," Long said.

"I've never played against someone like [Kerr], of that calibre. We played China last Asian Cup, and it was just a completely new experience. I dove head first into [that] so I plan to do the same thing. Hopefully I stick to my principles and play defense the way I should," she added.

The Philippines clash with Australia on Monday, 6 p.m. Manila time.



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