September 30 – Japan won the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship after a rearguard 2-1 result over North Korea in the tournament’s final. They qualify alongside the Koreans for next year’s U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.
At the Chonburi Stadium in Thailand, Hong Song-ok opened the scoring for 2017 champions North Korea in the ninth minute, converting a penalty. The Korean lead was short-lived as Japan equalised within ten minutes, ending Korea’s clean sheet in the tournament.
Suzu Amano scored in the 19th minute before Manaka Hayashi netted Japan’s second four minutes later, which sufficed to clinch the title. The Koreans couldn’t mount a comeback after the Japanese quick-fire brace.
“After we conceded a spot-kick early on, our players remained calm and they read the game very well,” said Japanese coach Michihisa Kano. “We equalised and then scored the second to win the game because the players trained to be able to deal with high pressure.”
Japan became the most successful nation in the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship, overtaking their opponents with a fourth title in its eighth edition. South Korea are the only other country to have won the tournament, back in 2009.
China won the bronze medal, staging a late comeback against Australia 2-1.
The Japanese and North Koreans will represent Asia alongside hosts India at the 2020 U-17 Women’s World Cup. They sealed their berth winning their semi-finals. Japan knocked out China 2-0 and North Korea breezed past Australia 3-0.
Oceania’s representative at the global finals will be decided later this year. The other confederations stage their continental finals next year to complete the line-up for the U-17 Women’s World Cup.
Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1709584897labto1709584897ofdlr1709584897owedi1709584897sni@o1709584897fni1709584897