Kuala Lumpur: Four teams remain in the race to join hosts Japan as Asian representatives in this year’s Women’s Olympic Football Tournament, with Australia to face Vietnam and Korea Republic to meet China PR in the final play-off round.
As the long and winding road to Tokyo 2020 nears the finish line, the-AFC.com takes a look at some of the key numbers from the previous round of Qualifiers.
Glory for Kerr, Ji as Chelsea win FA Women’s League Cup
Nottingham: Australia’s Sam Kerr claimed a rare piece of club silverware, while Korea Republic’s Ji So-yun added another trophy to her impressive collection as Chelsea beat London rivals Arsenal 2-1 to win the FA Women’s League Cup at the City Ground on Saturday.
An injury-time winner from two-goal striker Bethany England proved decisive, with an Arsenal side featuring Australian ace Catilin Foord, and coached by countryman Joe Montemurro, left to lament a missed opportunity.
Chelsea led at half-time but had to endure wave after wave of Arsenal attacks as the game wore on, with Leah Williamson equalising in the 85th minute, before England tapped in in the final moments to seal the win.
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.
Bell urges Korea Republic to remain focused for Play-offs
Jeju: Head coach Colin Bell wants his Korea Republic players to stay on their toes after the East Asians defeated Vietnam 3-0 to seal top spot in Group A of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sunday.
The Taeguk Ladies found a way past an ultra defensive Vietnam with goals from Jang Sel-gi, Choo Hyo-joo and Ji So-yun to set up a date with the Group B runners-up in next month’s Play-offs.
Vietnam, who claimed second spot, will face the Group B winners with the triumphant teams from the Play-offs joining hosts Japan as Asia’s representatives at the 2020 Olympics.