Mendoza: Miles away from our destination

Mendoza: Miles away from our destination

We lick our wounds in sickening silence? We sulk amid a rout that you say was not supposed to happen?

Or do we pause, step back and yield to a truth that, all the while, was sarcastically staring at us from the get-go?

Reality doesn’t just bite; it also kills — oftentimes with a venom that has no antidote.

That 6-0 loss brutally inflicted on us by Norway wasn’t just an eye-opener. Not simply a wake-up call. It rammed through our throats the ignored given: We are still miles away from our destination.

Yes, we defeated New Zealand via a 1-0 stunner before we met Norway.

Why did that happen? Didn’t New Zealand defeat Norway in the opener?

The game’s gods were with us in our New Zealand joust.

But it is not every day that the game’s gods are on our side — or, on any other team for that matter. No, they didn’t favor Norway. That’s not why we lost. The gods were just being reasonable: They also honor stats. And history.

Before the Philippines-Norway match on Sunday, July 30, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand, Norway was the runaway favorite.

Just right.

Norway was in the Fifa World Women’s Cup nine consecutive times from 1991 to 2023. After finishing runner-up in 1991, Norway won the World Cup in the next edition of the quadrennial meet in 1995.

The Philippines is a debutante this year. Recording a first-ever win in the game’s grandest stage — against New Zealand — is already more than what we have bargained for, so to speak.

Before that, the Philippines’ only significant stat was it crashed the World Cup party this year — a watershed phenomenon not just for Philippine football but, more importantly, for Philippine sports.

But the game’s gods just couldn’t look the other way. They play fair, I can tell you that. Most times, they adhere to fact more than fiction — even if they fancy fairy tale stuff most of the time.

Yes, Norway kicked our asses out of the Round of 16 but that’s all right. The thing is, we should move on, learn from experience and look at the future with heightened resolve.

Remember, we just achieved a first World Football Cup appearance in either men’s or women’s competition in a game outside of basketball. Incredible, to say the least.

For now, that’s more than enough.


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