Seoul: Chinese Taipei’s bid to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics will be boosted by competitive matches against some of Asia’s best teams after they were confirmed as starters in the EAFF E-1 Women’s Championship on Wednesday.
The side will travel to Busan for next month’s tournament, where they will face Korea Republic, Japan and China PR as a replacement team for DPR Korea, who withdrew from the event this week.
Chinese Taipei will appear in the final stage of the competition for the first time since 2010 having finished second in last December’s Second Preliminary Round, where they defeated both Hong Kong and Mongolia before losing 2-0 to China PR.
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Their participation in next month’s tournament comes as a significant boost to their preparations for next February’s Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers Final Round, where they have been drawn alongside Australia, China PR and Thailand, all of whom reached the semi-finals in last year’s AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan.
Chinese Taipei have won all seven of their Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers thus far, with striker Yu Hsiu-chin contributing a Continent-best 10 goals.
While the nation has never qualified for the Olympic women’s football tournament, they did enjoy their best run in 20 years at last year’s Asian Games in Indonesia, finishing in fourth place after eliminating Vietnam at the quarter-final stage.
Meanwhile, recently-appointed Korea Republic boss Colin Bell believes the tournament in Busan will serve as important groundwork for his side’s attempt to qualify for the next year’s Olympics.
The Englishman will lead his new team for the first time when the tournament begins on December 10, and he is eager to see his side put through their paces on a competitive stage before they face DPR Korea, Vietnam and Myanmar in February’s Tokyo 2020 Qualifiers.
"We're using this tournament as a good preparation for the Olympic qualification,” said Bell, a UEFA Women’s Champions League winner, at a press conference launching the event on Wednesday.
"But that doesn't mean we're using this competition as having three friendly matches. We're taking it very seriously."
The EAFF E-1 Women’s Championship runs from December 10 to 17, with the AFC Tokyo 2020 Women’s Qualifiers to resume in early February.
The men's Championship, also to be played in Busan, will feature China PR, Hong Kong, Japan and Korea Republic.
Photos: AFP, AFC
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