Asia’s Women’s World Cup in Review

Published on: 27 June 2019

Rennes: Japan’s heartbreaking last-minute loss to the Netherlands on Tuesday ended Asia’s playing involvement in the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.

With three out of five representatives reaching the knockout stage, it was a tournament of much promise, but three losses in four days to European opposition meant that, for the first time in history, the quarter-final draw is without an Asian side.

As the dust settles on the Continent’s campaign at France 2019, the-AFC.com reviews the campaigns of each of the five participants.


JAPAN – Eliminated in Round of 16 (lost 2-1 to Netherlands)

In a nutshell

Finalists in the past two World Cups but arriving in France with the second youngest squad in the competition, Japan began with a sluggish 0-0 draw against unfancied Argentina, then beat Scotland 2-1 before showing flashes of quality in an otherwise disappointing 2-0 loss to England.

Asako Takakura’s side produced their best football of the tournament in outplaying the European champions for most of their Round of 16 clash, but the unfortunate late penalty conceded by Saki Kumagai meant the Nadeshiko suffered their earliest exit since 2011.

 

Defining moment

Japan played sparkling football against the Oranje, but despite a string of opportunities, were unable to score the goal their play had merited. Had they found one, Takakura’s side would have met Italy in the quarter-finals in a match they would have been confident of winning.

Who enhanced their reputation?

Playing in her third World Cup, Mana Iwabuchi (pictured above, right) got her first ever starts at the global Finals and produced performances of real quality, while first-timers like Nana Ichise, Yui Hasegawa, Risa Shimizu and Hina Sugita all showed the land of the rising sun can look forward to a very bright future.

CHINA PR - Eliminated in Round of 16 (lost 2-0 to Italy)

In a nutshell

Drawn alongside Germany, Spain and South Africa in what some had labelled the group of death, China PR defended courageously to advance despite only scoring one goal in three group matches.

Their lack of firepower would prove costly in the Round of 16, as Italy took their chances to prevent Jia Xiuquan’s side from reaching the last eight; a first for China a Women’s World Cup.

 

Defining moment

Having conceded early against the Italians, the Steel Roses were well on top by late in the first half, but indecision in the final third prevented them from equalising before the break, and four minutes later they were 2-0 down, with their World Cup run as good as over.

Who enhanced their reputation?

Goalkeeper Peng Shimeng, 21, played a crucial role in her side’s progression beyond the group stage, with her stunning nine-save performance in the scoreless draw against Spain earning her the nickname ‘The Great Wall of China’.

AUSTRALIA - Eliminated in Round of 16 (lost on penalties to Norway)

In a nutshell

With Sam Kerr firing up front, Australia had the attacking weaponry to challenge any team in France, but they rarely looked stable in defence, with a series of injuries forcing head coach Ante Milicic into a positional juggling act.

Ultimately it was only the dreaded penalty shootout that saw the Matildas eliminated, but they struggled during stages of all four of their matches in a campaign which never truly hit full stride.

 

Defining moment

In a see-sawing epic of a knockout stage match in Nice, Australia showed great spirit to recover from a goal behind, but a straight red card to key defender Alanna Kennedy forced them onto the back foot for much of extra-time before misses to Kerr and Emily Gielnik ended their campaign in the shootout.

Who enhanced their reputation?

Despite her penalty miss against Norway, Kerr reinforced her standing as a global star with five goals in four matches – including four in one record-breaking night against Norway – while lionhearted young right-back Ellie Carpenter has the world at her feet after a superb debut World Cup.

KOREA REPUBLIC - Eliminated in group stage

In a nutshell

It felt as if Korea Republic had walked into an ambush when they met the World Cup hosts on opening night, as France scored three first-half goals on the way to a consummate 4-0 win.

From there Korea Republic’s performances improved, but their results did not, with disappointing defeats to Nigeria and Norway ending their competition early.

 

Defining moment

Yoon Duk-yeo’s side had to win, or at least get a point, against Nigeria on Matchday Two, but despite a dominance of nearly all statistical indicators, they failed to score, with Asisat Oshoala’s late goal sealing a 2-0 Super Falcons win which effectively ended the Korean challenge.

Who enhanced their reputation?

Big things were expected of Yeo Min-ji (pictured above, right) when she set the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup alight in 2010, but it has taken time for the now 26-year-old to make her mark.

Overlooked for the first two matches, Yeo started in Korea Republic’s final match against Norway, giving the team the attacking thrust they had been missing, as well as their only goal of the tournament.

THAILAND – Eliminated in group stage

In a nutshell

The Chaba Kaew were overpowered by two heavyweights, before pushing Chile all the way in their final match in thee group stage which yielded one goal for and 20 against.

Thailand’s 13-0 loss to the United States was a tournament record, and the World Cup proved to be the end of an era for the side, as head coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian and long-term team manager Nualphan Lamsam both stepped down from their roles at the end of their campaign.

Defining moment

Thailand had been hoping to keep scores close in their opening match against the world champion Americans, and trailed by a reasonable 3-0 at half-time, but four goals in six minutes after the break paved the way for the heaviest ever World Cup defeat and a blow from which their campaign couldn’t recover.

Who enhanced their reputation?

Kanjana was already a legend in Thai women’s football, but her inspiring goal, which capped a trememndous individual display against Sweden, solidified her legacy on the world stage.


Source: the-afc.com

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