The celebration of women's football in Asia promises to be entertaining and thrilling, with the Women's Asian Cup played next year in India.
The official draw ceremony took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, yesterday. Twelve teams drew into three groups, four teams in each group. Here's a look at the groups.
Due to the pandemic, the competition will now be held between January 20 and February 6, 2022, rather than late October and early November as initially planned. The event will be hosted at three stadiums in India: Mumbai's Mumbai Football Arena, Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium, and Pune's Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
Hosts India had a tough draw after drawing against China, China Taipei and Iran in Group A. China PR are eight-time record winners, having last won in 1999, and Islamic Republic of Iran have qualified for the finals for the first time since 2006. Despite this, head coach Thomas Dennerby is rather excited about the competition.
Thomas: "It is an exciting group. We respect all our opponents as they are strong teams qualified for the AFC Asian Cup India 2022. But we are ready to play any team.I don't consider any particular match as a key one. All three matches are key matches for us in the group stage. We need to do our job over 90 minutes every time we enter the field.
Defenders of the title, Japan, is in Group C with South Korea, Vietnam, and Myanmar, while Australia, the 2010 champion and runner-up in the previous two editions, is in Group B with Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia.
2023 Women's World Cup qualification on the line
AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2022 will add even more drama and intrigue, with the top five nations earning direct tickets to the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2023, which will be held jointly by Australia and New Zealand. The following two best teams from the Playoffs will also represent Asia in the Inter-Confederation Playoffs.
With a World Cup qualification on the line, every team will give it their best to make it to the top five. To add to this, if Australia makes it to the top 5, the sixth-ranked team directly qualifies as Australia being the host country has already qualified.
The Action Begins...
The action begins on January 20, 2022, as China takes on Chinese Taipei as the tournament opener at the Mumbai Football Arena at 3.30 pm (local time). At 7.30 pm (local time), host India will face the Islamic Republic of Iran, making its debut, on the first day of action at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
On January 21, Australia, champion in 2010 and runner-up in the previous two editions, will face Indonesia at 3.30 pm at the Mumbai Football Arena, while Thailand will face the Philippines at 5.30 pm at the D.Y. Patil Stadium in Group B.
In Group C, Japan will defend their title against Myanmar at 1.30 pm, while the Korea Republic will face Vietnam six hours later. Both matches will take place in Pune's Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
Matches to watch out for
The opening game of China vs Chinese Taipei will be an absolute cracker and a must-watch.
Japan vs the Korea Republic is bound to be another banger, while from Group B, Australia vs Thailand is to be kept a close eye on.
All matches in the tournament will be played behind closed doors as a precaution against COVID-19, but keep an eye out on our social media to be kept up to date with all things AFC Women's Asian Cup. We have some great content planned for the run up and during the event! Follow us @SportingHer on twitter and instagram.
AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 Draw
Group A: India, China PR, Chinese Taipei, Islamic Republic of Iran
Group B: Australia, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia
Group C: Japan, Korea Republic, Vietnam, Myanmar
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