Asian Cup: Japan face China for place in final | Football News

The penultimate stage of the fight for continental supremacy will play out at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune when Japan take on China and Korea Republic face Philippines in the semifinals of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Thursday.
With three of their players among the top 10 scorers in the tournaments so far and sharing 12 goals between them, world No. 13 China will come all guns blazing for a chance at a record-extending ninth Asian crown.
But on the opposite side of the field will be a Japan side that will be vying to become only the third team to clinch a hat-trick of titles. To aid in their endeavour, the defending champions will also have the firepower of Yuika Sugasawa who has four goals to her name in this edition so far.
“China are a very experienced side. However, our game plan is to strike first,” Japan coach Futoshi Ikeda said during the media interaction on Wednesday.
Korea Republic eye maiden final berth
Meanwhile, with the pressure of qualifying for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup off their shoulders, Korea Republic will be driven as they seek a first ever appearance in the summit clash of the continental meet. There should be no dearth of confidence in coach Clin Bell’s camp. But he would not want his side to be carried away against a vibrant Philippines side, which defeated higher-ranked Chinese Taipei in their last-8 clash. Bell is also counting on his team’s ability to bounce back. They also snatched the final berth for the 2019 World Cup by beating the Filipinos in the 5th-place playoffs in 2018.
Vietnam close in on WC spot
Vietnam took a step forward in their bid for a first ever World Cup qualification with a 2-0 victory over Thailand in Navi Mumbai on Wednesday. A win for them against Chinese Taipei in the round-robin playoff on Sunday will seal the remaining automatic slot for Vietnam, with the four semifinalists and co-hosts Australia having already qualified for the 2023 event.

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