Asian Cup 2018 explainer: teams, venues, star players

The Westfield Matildas will learn their group stage opponents for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup when the draw is held this Saturday night.

Alen Stajcic’s side will be heavily fancied to go all the way in Jordan after streamrolling through a record-breaking 2017.

But which challenges will Australia need to navigate in order to be crowned champions for the second time?

TEAMS

The tournament will be contested by eight nations, split into two groups of four.

Hosts Jordan are the least experienced as they have only appeared at one previous tournament, finishing bottom of Group A in 2014.

Japan prevailed on that occasion, edging Australia – now the AFC’s top-ranked nation – 1-0 in the final.

That was, surprisingly, Japan’s first ever triumph. China PR dominated the tournament with seven straight wins between 1986 and 1999.

The other teams to have qualified are South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam and Philippines.

Japan Asian Cup
Japan are reigning champions.

VENUES

Amman, the capital of Jordan, is due to spread the hosting of all games between two venues.

One is the Amman International Stadium, which was built in 1964 and was the scene of last year’s FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup final.

The other is the nearby King Abdullah II Stadium, home to the Al-Wehdat Sports Club and able to fit 13,000 people.

Amman International Stadium
Amman International Stadium

STAR PLAYERS

While the Westfield Matildas will take plenty of their own big names to the tournament, they will come up against some headline acts in April.

Japan captain Saki Kumagai was one of two players Sam Kerr beat to the title of AFC Women’s Player of the Year last week and it will be fascinating to see Kerr go head-to-head with the Lyon defender.

South Korea star Ji So-yun is one of few other players currently plying her trade abroad, lighting it up for English outfit Chelsea.

The midfielder has almost 100 international caps and is her country’s all-time top goalscorer.

Jordan, meanwhile, will have their hopes pinned on Stephanie Al-Naber, a goalscoring midielder who netted nine times in just five games in qualifying.

Saki Kumagai
Australia will need to find a way past Saki Kumagai.

 

Source  :  My Football Website

Jordan to host AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 finals

Chonburi: The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Football Committee met on Sunday in Chonburi, Thailand, coinciding with the qualifying round for the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2017 taking place in the country.

Key decisions were made relating to the host nations of upcoming AFC women’s competitions: Jordan were chosen to host the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 finals; the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship 2017 finals were awarded to China PR (Nanjing) and Thailand (Bangkok) were announced as the hosts of the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship 2017 finals.

The decision to award the hosting of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 Finals to Jordan was reached following the study of bidding files and the report of the inspection visit to Amman in April. The inspection team assessed the venues on a number of themes including hosting of previous AFC competitions, current state of facilities, general infrastructure, transport, security and accommodation.

AFC Women’s Football Committee Chairwoman Moya Dodd said: “Jordan have proved they are worthy hosts of the next edition of the AFC Women’s Asia Cup Finals and I would like to congratulate the Jordan Football Association on submitting such a professional and thorough bid. This decision marks a geographical landmark, being the first time a Member Association from the West Zone will have hosted a senior AFC women’s tournament. We look forward to seeing them in the spotlight and wish them well later this month, too, as they host the FIFA Women’s U-17 World Cup.”

Dodd reflected on a busy meeting agenda, adding: “This is an exciting time for women’s football in Asia as the AFC has pledged recently, as part of its Vision and Mission statement, to further invest in the women’s game in the continent and build on recent progress and success. The information shared and discussed today highlights the great steps that are being made in terms of development, coaching, technical ability and competitiveness, as well as administrative expertise at all levels of the women’s game in Asia.”

The Committee also discussed the potential for a pilot Asian club championship for elite teams, as well as possible development tournaments for emerging Member Associations, further mirroring the AFC’s commitment to providing top level competitions to raise the standard of competition in Asia.

 

The Asian Football Confederation