February 28, 2024

Olivia McDaniel gets frank on fired-up moment before Filipinas qualified for FIFA Women's World Cup

Olivia McDaniel gets frank on fired-up moment before Filipinas qualified for FIFA Women
Art by Royce Nicdao, One Sports

Olivia McDaniel was central to the Philippine women's national football team's journey to qualifying for the FIFA Women's World Cup. And the goalkeeper got frank with Optus Sport of Australia in talking about those nailbiting moments of the penalty shootout.

It was January 2022, and the Filipinas had just reached their first-ever AFC Women's Asian Cup. The match against Chinese Taipei was tied by the 82nd minute, and neither squad was able to break the deadlock even at extra time.

So on to the shootout they went.

Chinese Taipei quickly netted their first three penalty kicks. Sara Castañeda and Tahnai Annis made theirs for the Philippines. Jessica Miclat's kick though was quickly saved by the opponent. So was Hali Long's.

The Filipinas were in danger.

McDaniel admitted that was more nervous to save penalties than to take them.

"It came to the PK where I had to save it, I saved it and I was just like, 'Let's go. We're in this, we're not out yet.' I think that was basically what was going through my head the whole time like we're not losing here," Davies told Optus Sport.

She blocked the kick from Hsu Yi-yun and Su Hsin-yun. And then McDaniel was called up to take her own.

"I had to step up and take a PK, which honestly was the least of my worries because I know I can hit a ball," she shared. "So I put that away and then had to go back and save another PK," the goalie recounted, blocking the kick from Zhuo Li-ping.

The Filipinas needed just one more shot to make history. It was all in the handsor legsof Sarina Bolden.

"The moment after I saved the second one I said 'She better not miss this or I will be pissed,'" McDaniel recounted with a laugh. "I could not watch, I think I was facing the other way."

"I looked at the last second to see the ball hit the back of the net."

"But once it hit the back of the net I was a little bit in disbelief. I just remember running and screaming with my teammates and forgetting that the rest of the tournament was even going on and we had to play South Korea next."

@onesportsplus

Watch this nailbiting penalty shootout between PH and Chinese Taipei at the AFC Asian Women's Cup. It might leave you emotional at the end.

? original sound - onesportsplus

It's an especially surreal moment for McDaniel, who didn't really start out as a goalkeeper. She was a striker, only she couldn't run the full 90 minutes in the pitch. So her father and coach advised her to try being a goalkeeper

"I liked scoring goals, but then after a while, I was like all right, I can get used to this and so I've loved it ever since," McDaniel recalled.

Now she will have another chance to make history as the world number 46 Philippines will take on heavyweights no. 12 Norway, no. 20 Switzerland, and host no. 26 New Zealand in Group A of the FIFA Women's World Cup later this month.