Asian Watch: Cho chases FA Cup glory, Momiki believes in Nadeshiko
Kuala Lumpur: With the countdown clock to the opening match of the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019 showing just 33 days, the-AFC.com continues its weekly look across Asia and beyond at the preparations of the Continent's five qualified teams.
This week; a Wembley Cup final for one Korea Republic star, and a tournament-ending injury for another, while one of Japan's new faces believes her side can be the first in World Cup history to reach three successive finals.
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Cho's West Ham primed for glory in front of expected record crowd
With Korea Republic set to face host nation France in the World Cup's opening match on June 7, national team captain Cho So-hyun is set for the perfect appetiser when she anchors the West Ham United midfield in the Women's FA Cup Final against Manchester City on Saturday (local time).
Having joined the London club from Norway's Avaldsnes IL in January, Cho has quickly become a valuable figure in her side's surge to their first ever final, emerging as the match-winner in their semi-final penalty shootout win over Reading.
A reported 52,000 tickets have been sold for the Wembley Stadium match, which is expected to break the competition's record crowd of 45,423, as Cho looks to become the second Korean to win the Women's FA Cup after national teammate Ji So-yun.
Injury rules Kim out of World Cup contention
Veteran Korea Republic goalkeeper Kim Jung-mi's dream of a third FIFA Women's World Cup has come to an early end, after she suffered an achilles tendon injury prior to Incheon Hyundai Steel Red Angels' WK League win over Hwacheon KSPO on Thursday.
Capped 116 times, Kim was a squad member as an 18-year-old in 2003, and played in all four of her side's matches in 2015, but she has been officially ruled out of contention by the Korea Football Association.
Kim's injury means 27 players remain in the running for Yoon Duk-yeo's final squad of 23, which is set to be announced on May 17.
Momiki believes Japan can be champions
Yuka Momiki is confident Japan can become the first time in FIFA Women's World Cup history to reached the final in three successive tournaments, following their winning campaign in 2011, and reaching the final in 2015.
"I may have many goals set for the future, but topping all, I want to help Japan to be champions of the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France," she said. "I want us to keep our place among the world's best and thus we can remain prominent in top-level global competitions."
Momiki, 24, has notched up 24 caps and eight goals since making her senior debut at the 2017 Algarve Cup, and highlighted her potential with standout performances against the United States and Brazil at this year's SheBelieves Cup.
In other Nadeshiko news, Saki Kumagai's (pictured above) Olympique Lyonnais will look to lift another trophy when they meet LOSC Lille in the French Cup Final on Wednesday.
Young Matildas knocking on the door, Chidiac one point away
Australia's successful AFC U-19 Women's Championship qualifying campaign did no harm to the World Cup selection prospects of attacking duo Mary Fowler (pictured above) and Princess Ibini-isei, who netted nine goals between them in the three-match final stage.
But while both Fowler and Ibini-isei have both featured for the Matildas before, U-19 head coach Gary van Egmond believes uncapped 18-year-old full-back Karly Roestbakken could also be in contention for a senior call-up, telling Australian Associated Press, "she's one that's definitely a chance for France and wouldn't let you down."
Elsewhere, Australian attacking midfielder Alexandra Chidiac is on track to lift silverware this weekend, with her Atletico Madrid side one point away from sealing the Spanish Primera División Femenina on the final day of the season.
Sold out stadium to welcome Chaba Kaew to France
#FRATHA 🇫🇷🇹🇭 Le stade de la Source à Orléans sera plein pour l'avant-dernier match de prépa des Bleues à la #FIFAWWC le 25 mai! 🎉— Emma Hingant, FIFA (@FIFAWWC_FRA) May 3, 2019
Hey @FIFAWWC_THA, our friendly encounter on 25th May is sold-out! How good is that?https://t.co/3D6H1M368v
Thailand's campaign kicks with a clash against World number one United States on June 11, but the Southeast Asians are set for an early taste of the FIFA World Cup atmosphere with a full house booked in for their pre-tournament friendly against France on May 25.
With a 7,500 capacity, Orléans' Stade de la Source may not be the biggest venue to see international action this summer, but a match against the hosts in a sold out stadium should provide the perfect introduction to France for Nunegrutati Srathongvian's side.
Wang ends PSG season as Chinese camp concludes
The 2018 AFC Women's Player of the Year Wang Shuang's first season in European football will come to an end on Saturday as her Paris Saint-Germain side play away to Guingamp in their final league fixture.
In a successful season, the Chinese star has scored seven league goals to help her side to a second place finish, while also becoming the first Chinese player to score in the UEFA Women's Champions League last October.
For Wang's international teammates, China PR's pre-tournament training camp in Suzhou concluded on Tuesday, with the final squad announcement and a May 31 friendly against France in Creteil looming as the side's next major milestones.
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