THE PHILIPPINES’ buildup for the FIFA Women’s World Cup brings the squad to Costa Rica next month for a training camp and a pair of friendlies against the 37th-ranked Costa Ricans. The No. 53 Filipinas face the La Sele first on Oct. 7 at the Alejandro Morera Soto Stadium in Alajuela then they meet a second time four days later in a still-to-be-determined venue.

This 11-day Costa Rica camp comes on the heels of the reigning Asean titlists’ two-week sessions in California highlighted by a duel with another higher-ranking opponent, No. 22 New Zealand.

“The friendly matches against Costa Rica give us a chance to experience different styles of play after playing against New Zealand early this month,” said Philippine coach Alen Stajcic, whose charges blew a 1-0 lead in a close 2-1 defeat to the Kiwis.

“What’s important for us is to learn and build on these experiences, which will be a huge factor in our World Cup campaign next year.”

The team’s objective, stressed Mr. Stajcic, is to continue improving while waiting for the WWC’s official draw next month.

“We improved a lot but there’s no doubt that expectations and goals are higher and we know how hard it is to keep climbing. So we’re working hard trying to reset our goals to keep striving for more success,” the Australian mentor said. — Olmin Leyba