Sunday , October 1 2023

Teams set for final 2024 AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup qualifiers!

Eight teams will converge on Southeast Asia this week to continue their quest to reach the 2024 AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup – Uzbekistan from March 3 to 16.

The second and final round of Qualifiers for the 11th edition of the tournament will be held in Vietnam and Myanmar – the centralised hosts for Groups A and B respectively.

Each group will be played in a one-round league format, with both winners and runners-up securing the four qualifying berths for the tournament. The quartet will join the three highest-seeded teams from the 2019 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in Thailand – Japan, North Korea and South Korea – as well as host nation Uzbekistan at the Finals next year.

The opening match takes place on Saturday, June 3 as Australia and Lebanon kick off at 4pm at the Viet Tri Stadium in Phu Tho Province, which will stage all the fixtures in Group A.

The joint-highest scoring team from Round 1 with 20 goals in two matches, Australia have never missed an edition since their debut in 2006 and are targeting a ninth consecutive qualification. Conversely, Lebanon, who are taking part in only their third qualifying campaign, fell short at this stage in the 2019 edition.

Vietnam then face Iran in the evening at 7pm, which will surely bring back memories from the Qualifiers in 2019. Then, both teams were also grouped together in Round 2 with Vietnam managing to advance by the slimmest of margins owing to a better disciplinary record. The home side are aiming to qualify for the third time in a row, while Iran are seeking a return since their maiden qualification in 2015.

Group B gets underway next Tuesday, June 6 at the centralised venue of Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon, with China and Chinese Taipei first up at 3.30pm. China are one of four teams to have qualified for every past edition and the only previous champion to take part in these Qualifiers – their first ever qualifying campaign, in fact. The 2006 winners take on a Chinese Taipei side aiming to feature for the fifth time with their last appearance coming in 2009.

Hunting a fifth qualification and a second straight appearance, hosts Myanmar entertain Nepal later in the day at 6.30pm. Both sides had also clashed at the same stage in the previous edition of qualifying, which was Nepal’s first campaign. The visitors will have to upset the odds to appear at the AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup for a second time, with their sole previous participation coming in 2004 as a direct entrant.

With just one final hurdle to overcome, this round of Qualifiers is set to be a thrilling and intense battle.

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