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'I’m not Australian for that day': Filipinas’ Aussie coach goes all in vs Matildas

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine women’s national football team head coach Mark Torcaso banished thoughts of his Australian roots as his Filipinas prepare to face the Matildas in a crucial match during the second round of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Perth on Sunday.

With the top spot in Group A on the line, the two undefeated squads will fight to put one foot into the third round, with Torcaso’s Filipinas seeking an upset against the World No. 11 Australians.

Despite being from Australia himself, Torcaso had no qualms of going against his own country to lead the Filipinas to victory. Knowing his role as head coach, the 42-year-old is focused on one thing, and one thing alone.

“I’m the Philippines coach now, so that’s all I really worry about. I'm not Australian for that day,” he said during a media availability on Friday.

Owing to the Filipinas’ impressive 4-1 showing against Chinese Taipei, they are currently ahead of the Matildas in the standings, with the hosts limited by a pesky Iranian defense that had them winning only by 2-nil in their match on Thursday.

Knowing the difference on paper, the Filipinas are embracing their underdog status. But with a lot of experience on their side against top teams, Torcaso isn’t all that worried.

“It’s just like any opposition, you know, we played Japan and South Korea who are top nations, we played Chinese Taipei, who is a good team as well. It doesn’t really matter who we play,” said Torcaso.

The Filipinas will play the hosts at Perth Stadium, expecting to face a hostile Australian crowd.

Still, seeing as the Philippines was able to get the biggest of upsets over New Zealand in their own pitch during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, Torcaso believes that they can do it all over again — this time for a chance to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“Obviously, yes we’re playing in Australia, like the girls did against New Zealand in New Zealand, in front of a home crowd and I think that will excite our players and that will get them really pumped up to be the best that they can,” he said.

And when it comes to his allegiances, rest assured Torcaso is all in for the Philippines and his Filipinas.

“Yeah, it holds