Women’s Asian Cup: Groups set for 2022 tournament

AFC Women's Asian Cup – India 2022

The field is set for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup after Chinese Taipei and Myanmar claimed the final two spots in the tournament’s 12-team pool.

Following a month-long qualification tournament, teams will now have three months to prepare before the main event kicks off on 20 January in India.

It is the second time the competition heads to India. The country previously hosted the 1980 edition in Kozhikode. This time around, however, venues in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune will host matches.

2022 Women’s Asian Cup draw results

Along with host country India, the top three teams from the 2018 edition of the Women’s Asian Cup automatically qualified. This meant Japan, Australia and China PR were able to forgo the qualification tournament.

Meanwhile, the eight remaining spots were determined through group play, which took place in various locations across Western and Central Asia.

In the end, Chinese Taipei, Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Korea Republic, the Philippines, IR Iran and Thailand secured their places in the finals.

Days after the last qualifying matches, the official cup draw took place on 28 October in Kuala Lumpur. Each of the 12 teams were divided into three groups of four teams.

Group A

  • India
  • China PR
  • Chinese Taipei
  • IR Iran

Group B

  • Australia
  • Thailand
  • Philippines
  • Indonesia

Group C

  • Japan
  • Korea Republic
  • Vietnam
  • Myanmar

Ones to watch

Heading into the competition, many eyes will be on Iran. The Western Asian country will make its Women’s Asian Cup debut during the 2022 tournament.

It’s a notable accomplishment, especially for a team that was banned from an Olympic qualifying match for wearing hijabs just over 10 years ago.

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Apart from Iran, the eleven other teams that qualified for the Women’s Asian Cup have all participated in multiple editions of the competition.

With eight titles, China PR is the most successful team in the tournament’s history. Yet, Japan are the clear favorites for the 2022 edition.

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The Nadeshiko are the defending champions of the Women’s Asian Cup, having claimed the last two cup titles. They also rank as the top Asian team participating in the 2022 competition, according to the most recent FIFA Women’s World Rankings.

A lot of pressure rides on Japan after their poor performance at the Tokyo Olympics. Newly appointed head coach Futoshi Ikeda will look to make a big impression when his side takes to the pitch in January.

A World Cup is on the line

Winning the Women’s Asian Cup is a feat within itself. Yet, many of the teams will also have their sights set on qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup.

The top five teams of the Women’s Asian Cup will directly qualify for the World Cup. As a co-host of the World Cup, Australia is excluded from this form of entry should they finish within the top five in India.

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Ultimately, at least six AFC teams will find themselves competing at the next World Cup. That’s one team greater than last time around, as the World Cup expands from 24 to 32 total teams for the 2023 tournament.

With five World Cup spots on the line, a riveting knockout stage awaits the Women’s Asian Cup. After all, seven of the 12 participating teams have yet to reach a World Cup.

Ultimately, Women’s Asian Cup organisers see the competition as the next milestone in celebrating women’s football on the world’s largest continent. All India Football Federation (AIFF) President and Local Organising Committee (LOC) Chairman Praful Patel spoke highly of the tournament’s impact.

“The AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022 belongs to every woman and football lover across the continent,” said Patel. “It stands for the unified efforts of all stakeholders in creating a bright future for women’s football that keeps encompassing unchartered ground.”

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