A hard guy to please! The Philippines coach doesn’t crack a smile even though his team is making history with his first World Cup goal.
There are hidden emotions, and then they’re locked up and thrown away, something the Philippine women’s soccer coach offered a masterclass after his team’s game-winning goal against hosts New Zealand on Tuesday.
Following Sarina Bolden’s historic header, which scored the country’s first World Cup goal, in the 24th minute of the match in Wellington, the beaming goalscorer ran to her teammates and support staff on the touchline.
If coach Alen Stajcic was happy, he was hiding it very, very well, putting on a stern poker face as his jubilant team hugged him around. When the camera zoomed in on him, football fans were greeted with more of a winning grunt than a winning smile.
Imagine if they had lost! A historic 24th goal by Sarina Bolden was the first time the Philippines national team, men or women, had scored at a World Cup, but hard-faced coach Alen Stajcic kept any joy under wraps.
The coach, a former Australian player, wrinkled his nose as the celebrations continued around him.
In the post-match press conference, he admitted that it was actually a defining moment in his career, saying: ‘How can you beat a host nation in a World Cup? it is the number one’
Sarina Bolden scored the Philippines’ first goal of the Women’s World Cup as they beat co-hosts New Zealand in Wellington 1-0 on Tuesday.
As the final whistle blew, a smile finally broke out from the coach, as he offered a joyous clenched fist to the fans in the crowd.
Bolden will go down in history as the Philippines’ first scorer in a men’s or women’s World Cup, netting a powerful first-half header and the game-winning goal.
And in the press conference that followed, Stajcic, who once managed the Australian team, which hosts it alongside New Zealand, made it clear that the Philippines’ historic first victory at the tournament was a great achievement.
He told reporters that the rookie’s win “has to be one of the biggest wins in the history of the sport in the country.”
He continued: ‘How can you beat a host nation in a World Cup? It is the number one.
“It was very emotional on the pitch, to see almost everyone cry. It’s unbelievable. When you hear stories of other teams needing so much time to win World Cup games… We’ve done it in our second game in our first World Cup.
I got there in the end! Former Matildas boss Stajcic offered a smile to the fans after the historic win in Wellington was sealed, saying he was “very emotional on the pitch”.
The World Cup rookies kept their hopes of reaching the round of 16 alive with the shock victory.
New Zealand have everything to do to qualify after losing in Wellington on Tuesday
‘You really can’t appreciate how far we’ve come compared to these teams. The unity, the work rate and the heart of the team was special.’
After the euphoria of an opening night win over Norway, New Zealand fell to the ground again with a 1–0 defeat.
A resurgent New Zealand thought they had an equalizer when Jacqui Hand scored a looping header, only for Hannah Wilkinson to be ruled fractionally offside in the build-up.
The goal was disallowed following a VAR review over a minute after a wild celebration, popping the Kiwis’ ball.