Philippines’ dream of reaching a first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup came to end as they were soundly beaten in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 play-off for fifth, but captain Tahnai Annis believes the tournament could be a turning point for the women’s game in the country.

Annis, who played all 90 minutes as her side fell 5-0 to a rampant Korea Republic, said that while the Malditas were disappointed to fall at the final hurdle, she will look back at Jordan 2018 with fondness.

“I think this whole Asian Cup has been an amazing experience for all of us and especially for women’s football in the Philippines,” she said.

“We’re on the map now, and people notice us. Coming into this no one mentioned anything about the Philippines – that was going to be everyone’s easy game and (opponents) didn’t have to think about us, but we really fought and we were (competitive) in every game.”

The Malditas kept the Koreans scoreless for the first 34 minutes in the play-off, and Annis – who has UEFA Women’s Champions League experience with Iceland’s Þór/KA – said her side were full of belief at that stage.

“We were playing really good defence and staying organised and disciplined and even in that first 30 minutes, we had our chances,” said the industrious midfielder.

“A couple of times we took our foot off the gas and a team like that is going to capitalise on those opportunities that we gave them. Once they got a couple of goals we kind of deflated a bit.”

For now, the Philippines’ journey has come to an end, but with the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 highlighting their potential, Annis hopes it is the just the first step for the Malditas.

“If we can get enough support from the Philippines as a whole in order to get us together as much as possible, I think that will really help us going forward and in future tournaments.” –

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