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Know Your Teams: Group B


Chonburi: Reigning champions Japan headline a distinctly competitive looking Group B at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 where the five-time title winners have China PR, Korea Republic and Myanmar for company.

Ahead of the tournament’s first games on Sunday, join the the-AFC.com as we bring you the second in a two-part series looking at the teams about to lock horns in Chonburi.

Sides finishing first and second in Group B will qualify for the semi-finals. The competition’s top three finishers will earn places at the 2020 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

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Japan

Qualification method: Qualified automatically as 2017 champions
2017 performance: Champions
Best finish: Champions (2002, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017)

Continental heavyweights Japan head to Thailand 2019 having qualified automatically thanks to their 2017 triumph and looking to add what would be a sixth AFC U-19 Women’s Championship crown to the nation’s already impressive haul. 

The Japanese have appeared in every edition of the competition since its inception in 2002 and claimed the title last time out following a hard-fought 1-0 win over DPR Korea, success which came after similar victories in 2002, 2009, 2011 and 2015.

Under the watchful gaze of head coach Futoshi Ikeda, who guided his country to glory at the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, Japan’s talented squad may well take a degree of inspiration from their U-16 counterparts after they claimed last month’s AFC U-16 Championship crown – also, coincidentally, in Chonburi.


China PR

Qualification method: Qualified automatically as 2017 third-placed side
2017 performance: Third place
Best finish: Champions (2006)

China PR arrive in Chonburi as automatic qualifiers after goals from He Luyao, Xie Qiwen and Jin Kun helped the Young Steel Roses claim a relatively comfortable 3-0 win over Australia to finish third on home soil at the competition’s 2017 edition.

China have featured in all nine of the previous AFC U-19 Women’s Championships, with their best performance to date undoubtedly coming in 2006 when they edged DPR Korea 1-0 in the final to claim the nation’s, as yet, one and only title.

With head coach Park Tae-ha (pictured above) – who hails from Korea Republic – at the helm, and featuring the likes of highly regarded duo Shen Menglu and Han Xuan, China’s class of 2019 looks set to challenge for honours once again in Thailand as the East Asians seek to end a frustrating 13-year wait for a second success at this level.


Korea Republic

Qualification method: Qualifiers Round 2 Group B winners
2017 performance: Group stage
Best finish: Champions (2004, 2013)

Korea Republic excelled throughout as they won all six of their matches, scored 27 times and conceded just once en route to finishing as runaway Group B winners following the second round of AFC U-19 Women’s Championship qualifiers in April.

Champions in 2004 and 2013, the Koreans featured in the qualification process after failing to secure a top three finish at the competition’s 2017 edition, a campaign which saw them crash out at the group stage following defeats to Australia and eventual title winners Japan.

No doubt eager to avoid a repeat of that early exit, Korea Republic’s hopes of success at Thailand 2019 will be buoyed by the presence of players such as highly regarded defender Koo Chae-hyeon and livewire forward Kang Ji-woo who netted seven goals as she and her teammates guaranteed their ticket to Chonburi.


Myanmar

Qualification method: Qualifiers Round 2 Group A runners-up
2017 performance: Did not qualify
Best finish: Group stage (2002, 2007, 2013)

Myanmar are set to make only their fourth AFC U-19 Women’s Championship appearance after a qualifying campaign which saw the Southeast Asians eventually secure second place in Group A and ensure their presence at Thailand 2019.

Myanmar certainly did not have things all their own way during the qualifiers, but goals from San Thaw Thaw and May Phu Kogo proved the difference as, despite having captain Zune Yu Ya Oo sent off, Myanmar beat Nepal 2-1 in their final game to advance.

 

Even though they may not have featured at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship since 2013, Myanmar are sure to represent more than a significant challenge for Group B’s more experienced side’s, with head coach Thet Thet Win and her side intent on reaching the competition’s knockout phase for what would be the first time in their country’s history.

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