While all the focus is one next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ in France, Asia’s aspirants are readying themselves for a shot at qualifying for the 2020 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament in Tokyo.
Asia’s two spots at the 12-team tournament will not be finalised until early 2020, and with Japan to feature as hosts there is an added opportunity for hopefuls among the record 23-nation field.
Brazil were the first team to qualify for Tokyo 2020 courtesy of their victory at the Copa America earlier this year. Oceania’s representative will be determined on 1 December when OFC Women’s Nations Cup takes place in New Caledonia.
Despite the early start in the world’s biggest continent, Asian qualifying is currently set to be the last to conclude.
2020 AFC Olympic Qualifying Tournament
Round 1 – 4-13 November 2018 (16 nations, six progress)
Round 2 – 1-9 April 2019 (Uzbekistan, Vietnam enter, three progress)
Round 3 – Early 2020 (Australia, China PR, Korea DPR, Korea Republic, Thailand enter)
With qualifying for France 2019 concluding earlier this year, the Tokyo 2020 qualifiers allow for much-needed competitive matches for Asia’s rapidly developing women’s football nations.
In the eastern half of the continent, much of the focus will be on the ambitious Philippines, who have turned resources and attention to the local game in recent years. The Malditas featured with distinction at this year’s Women’s Asian Cup, as they broke their long drought from the continental competition. Also hoping for a return to form will be the likes of Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei – both pioneers of women’s football in Asia.
Jordan will have a chance to show their wares following a disappointing continental campaign earlier this year on home soil. Nevertheless, since reaching their maiden Women’s Asian Cup in 2014, Jordan have led the way on the west half of the continent, having notably hosted a groundbreaking edition of the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2016. Elsewhere India will have fresh targets after kick-starting a new women’s league in recent times.
GROUP A (Tajikistan)
Tajikistan, Chinese Taipei, Philippines, Singapore, Mongolia
GROUP B (Thailand)
IR Iran, Hong Kong, Lebanon
GROUP C (Myanmar)
Myanmar, India, Nepal, Bangladesh
GROUP D (Palestine)
Palestine, Jordan, Indonesia, Maldives