Expanded AFC Women’s Asian Cup lights Vietnam’s World Cup hopes

Thursday, 2020-02-20 17:10:46
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The Vietnam women's football team. (Photo: VOV)
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NDO – Vietnam are standing a greater opportunity to compete for a World Cup place as the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, which serves as a qualifying tournament for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, is set to be expanded to 12 teams from the current eight.

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As recently announced by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), the Women’s Asian Cup expansion will be applied from the 2022 edition. Accordingly, the total 12 teams will be divided into three groups of four, with the best eight teams qualifying for the newly introduced quarter-finals.

The AFC’s renovation will give the developing teams in Asia more opportunities to book their places in the continent’s most prestigious competition in women’s football.

As for the Vietnamese squad, the increase of participating teams is expected to make Mai Duc Chung’s side “more comfortable” during the qualification process.

The AFC’s decision to expand the Women’s Asian Cup was triggered by the FIFA’s decision to expand the FIFA Women’s World Cup from 24 to 32 teams, starting from the 2023 edition. At that time, the AFC will have about 7-8 slots to attend the largest football festival in the world, thus offering Vietnam a greater chance to realise their dream of making a World Cup debut after closely missing out in 2015 and 2019.

India has been recommended as the first South Asian hosts for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022 by the AFC Women’s Football Committee which met in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on February 19.

At present, the Vietnam women’s team are actively practising in preparation for their upcoming two play-off matches against Australia (home and away) for a place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.