The Philippine Malditas face a history-defining moment in their bid to qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 when they take on Korea Republic in the AFC Women's Asian Cup fifth-place playoff on Tuesday, April 17 at 1 a.m. Philippine time at the Amman International Stadium.
Both teams head to the crucial play-off having finished third in their respective groups. The Philippines finished Group A with one win and two losses while Korea Republic had one win and two draws in Group B.
Malditas head coach Rabah Benlarbi expects the players to cherish the moment as they seek their place to be one of the five teams that will head to France next year. The Philippines won against host Jordan in the group stage, but lost their last two assignments against China PR and Thailand.
"The Philippines have absolutely nothing to lose as nobody really expected us to be in the position that we find ourselves in," said the French coach. "We must give our all, as we have 90 minutes to reach the World Cup, it is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime moment for my players."
Benlarbi also credited Korea Republic's run in the tournament. The East Asian side put on a solid defensive effort to force a scoreless draw against both Japan and Australia before defeating Vietnam in their final group game.
"I am a little surprised to be playing Korea Republic as they were one of the best teams in Group B and deserved, in my opinion, to go to the semi-finals and of course the World Cup," explained Benlarbi.