Takakura: I'd be lying if I said there was no pressure
Tokyo: Asako Takakura will be hoping she has a stay to remember in her nation’s capital. As coach of the Nadeshiko, hosts at Tokyo 2020, her goal will be to reach the gold medal match at the Olympic Stadium on 7 August.
After a tough learning curve for a young squad at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019, Takakura’s troops have their focus firmly on this year’s Olympics.
FIFA.com sat down with the former midfielder and FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup-winning coach to discuss last year’s “disappointing” World Cup, and welcoming the world to Japan for Tokyo 2020.
Unchanged squad for Play-off as Matildas eye Tokyo 2020
Sydney: Australian women’s national team head coach Ante Milicic has put an emphasis on consistency, naming an unchanged 20-strong squad for next month’s AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament final Play-off against Vietnam.
Group winners in the previous round in Sydney, Milicic has rewarded his players by selecting an identical squad which claimed big wins over Chinese Taipei (7-0) and Thailand (6-0) before being pushed to the limit in a 1-1 draw with China PR.
Sydney: Australia head coach Ante Milicic said his side must learn from being pushed to the limit by China PR at the Western Sydney Stadium on Thursday.
A supremely disciplined Steel Roses side came within 120 seconds of pulling off a shock away win against the World Number 7 Matildas, only to be denied by Emily van Egmond’s superb injury-time equaliser, which lifted the Australians above the Steel Roses on goal difference.
Good buildup will take China PR to Tokyo 2020, says skipper Wu
Sydney: A fully fit China PR will be confident of qualifying for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics by overcoming Korea Republic in a two-legged play-off next month, according to captain Wu Haiyan.
Having overcome all manner of obstacles to advance from Group B of the Final Round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in Sydney over the past week, the Steel Roses came within two minutes of securing top spot with a shock win over Australia.
A spirited, disciplined performance looked to have paid dividends when Tang Jiali put China ahead in the 86th minute, only for Emily van Egmond’s rocket in the third minute of added time saving the day for the hosts, whose draw was enough for them to top the group on goal difference.
Qualifiers Final Round - Group B: Australia 1-1 China PR
Parramatta: Australia finished as the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament Group B winners, netting a last-gasp equaliser to claim a 1-1 draw against China PR at Western Sydney Stadium on Thursday.
A terrific Tang Jiali strike four minutes from time looked to have sealed a superb win for the Steel Roses, but an equally brilliant added time strike from Emily van Egmond gave the Matildas the draw they needed to win the group on goal difference.
Australia’s final position on the group table means they will face Vietnam next month for a place in Tokyo, while China’s Olympic dream depends on a two-legged contest against Korea Republic.
Hardship has helped Steel Roses blossom, says Peng
Sydney: China PR endured more than their fair share of adversity in the last month, but goalkeeper Peng Shimeng believes her team has been galvanised by their experiences.
From giving up hosting rights of the tournament due to the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, to being confined to a Brisbane hotel for over a week – with no access to the training pitch - for precautionary quarantining, China PR’s build-up to the tournament in Sydney has been anything but smooth.
Even after arriving in the host city, unrelenting rain forced Jia Xiuquan’s staff into a revised training programme, but the team has looked superb on the pitch, storming to a 6-1 win over Thailand before backing it up with a 5-0 success against Chinese Taipei.
Logarzo: We have to play like we’re already in Tokyo
Sydney: Australia’s women’s national team may still be playing in the qualifying rounds of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, but they will aim to produce a level of performance worthy of the main event when they face China PR on Thursday, according to midfielder Chloe Logarzo.
While both sides have already sealed their places in the final play-off round, top spot of Group B in the AFC Women’s Olympic Tournament remains up for grabs in Thursday’s encounter and Logarzo believes the Matildas will be anything but complacent at Western Sydney Stadium.
“No. Actually, for the first time going into a major tournament, I don’t think there is any complacency,” said Logarzo, who scored the opening goal in the last meeting between the sides; a 2-0 Australian win just under two years ago.