Japan, Korea, China, Philippines reach women’s Asian Cup semis, book World Cup tickets

Navi Mumbai, Jan 30 (Football News) Holders Japan, former champions China, Korea and Philippines won their respective matches on Sunday to reach Women's Asian Cup semifinals and ensure qualification for the 2023 FIFA World Cup.

Japan reached the semifinals with a 7-0 thrashing of Thailand while China beat Vietnam 3-1 in another quarterfinal match at the DY Patil Stadium here.

In Pune, Korea beat pre-tournament favourites Australia 1-0 while Philippines prevailed over Chinese Taipei 4-3 in penalty shootout after their quarterfinal match ended 1-1 at the end of extra time.

Philippines scripted history by qualifying for their maiden World Cup. They also qualified in the semifinals of the Asian Cup for the first time.

Japan play against China while Korea take on Philippines in the semifinals on Thursday, both the matches to be played in Pune. All the Asian Cup semifinalists earn an automatic spot in the 2023 World Cup to be co-hosted by Australia and New Zealand. Australia have already qualified for the World Cup as co-hosts.

Now the three losing semifinalists sides — Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Vietnam — will feature in a playoffs round on February 2, 4 and 6.

The top side at the end of the round robin playoffs competition will advance to the World Cup Finals while the remaining two will feature in the Inter-Confederation playoffs.

Striker Yuika Sugasawa scored four goals for the two-time defending champions Japan who dominated Thailand throughout their their quarterfinal match.

With Thailand missing several players due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their squad, Japan started as favourites and Futoshi Ikeda's side took an immediate grip on the match.

Japan led 2-0 at half time and any hopes Thailand had of a possible comeback were dashed three minutes into the second half, with Sumida scoring Japan's third with a right-footed shot from the centre of the box into the bottom right corner.

With Thailand visibly tiring, Japan maintained a high tempo and their constant pressure saw them earn a second spot-kick in the 64th minute when Phonphirun Philawan was penalised for bringing Sugasawa down, with the striker converting from the spot with a well-placed shot into the bottom right corner.

With Thailand's resistance broken, it rained goals for Japan in the remaining minutes with Riko Ueki scoring their fifth in the 75th from the right side of the penalty box.

Sugasawa completed her hat-trick five minutes later with an effort from just outside the box and added her fourth with a header in the 80th minute.

In the other match at DY Patil Stadium, Wang Shuang, Wang Shanshan and Tang Jiali all starred in China's win against Vietnam.

China came into the tie having won all their group games without conceding a goal, while Vietnam were vying to chart history by progressing into the semifinals.

In Pune, Korea rode on Ji So-yun's late long-range stunner to beat Australia by a solitary goal.

The Chelsea midfielder thumped her effort home from 25 yards two minutes from time to give the Koreans victory after Cho So-hyun had missed a penalty against the 2018 runners-up who had stormed into the quarterfinals with three big wins on the trot.

Ji's goal allowed her to overshadow her clubmate Sam Kerr as the Australian forward endured a disappointing game in front of goal as the Matildas crashed out of the tournament.

In the last match of the day, Philippines advanced to their first ever Women's Asian Cup semi-finals, defeating Chinese Taipei 4-3 on penalties after their quarter-final ended 1-1 in extra time.

On a historic night, goalkeeper Olivia McDaniel made two saves and score one in the shootout to send Philippines to their maiden FIFA Women's World Cup. 

Also Read : Ji's late strike stuns Australia, sends South Korea into Asian Cup semifinals and World Cup

News Source : PTI


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