September 16 – The finalists for the Women’s Asian Cup in India next year are starting to take shape with six of the eight qualifying groups now complete.
The biggest surprise of the qualifiers so far was Iran who qualified for their first ever AFC Women’s Asian Cup, defeating Jordan 4-2 on penalties after a goalless draw at Bunyodkor Stadium in Uzbekistan to win Group G.
Ranked 72 in the world the Iranians and Jordan went into the group decider level, both having beaten Bangladesh 5-0. The penalty win ended 2018 Asian Cup host Jordan’s bid for a third successive appearance at the finals.
While Jordan went home ruing missed chances, the Philippines completed two wins by a goal over Hong Kong and Nepal to secure their 10th successive finals qualification.
Vietnam were the qualifying tournament’s highest goalscorers, putting 23 unanswered goals past Tajikistan and the Maldives to secure their slot in the finals. South Korea were similarly dominant as they breezed past Uzbekistan and Mongolia scoring 16 goals without conceding.
The other qualifiers were Thailand who beat Malaysia and Palestine in Palestine, and Indonesia who had two 1-0 wins over Singapore.
The two remaining qualifying groups will be played this month.
The 24 nations in group action will see eight group winners join reigning champions Japan, 2018 runners-up Australia and 2018 third-placed China PR as well as hosts India who have been pre-qualified for the finals.
India 2022 will decide the qualifiers for the Women’s World Cup in 2023. The AFC has five full places for the expanded 2023 World Cup, plus two intercontinental playoff places.
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