india: India clubbed with Japan, Vietnam, Uzbekistan in AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 2


India was on Thursday drawn in a tough group along with Japan, Vietnam and hosts Uzbekistan in the AFC Women‘s Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 to be played between October 23 and November 1. The Indian women’s football team qualified for Round 2 with wins over Kyrgyz Republic — 5-0 and 4-0 — in a two-legged play-off earlier this year.

The Blue Tigresses are the lowest ranked team in Group C at 61, while 2012 Olympics silver medallists Japan — ranked 11 in the world — are the most formidable side.

Vietnam, who will make their debut at the FIFA Women’s World Cup later this year, and hosts Uzbekistan are at 33 and 50 respectively in the FIFA chart.

In the lead-up to the Round 1 qualifiers against Kyrgyz Republic, India also played against Uzbekistan in a one-off friendly, losing 2-3 after an injury-time goal.

India have suffered narrow one goal losses on the three previous occasions they have played Uzbekistan. India last faced Vietnam in a friendly in Hanoi in 2019, drawing 1-1, while the last meeting with Japan came in the 1997 Asian Women’s Championship, with India going down 0-1.

Four teams — the three group winners and the best-ranked runners-up — will progress to Round 3 to play two pairs of home and away matches, slated for February 24 and 28 next year.

The winners will take the two spots reserved for Asia in the women’s football event in 2024 Olympics. Meanwhile, India were clubbed with Korea, Thailand and Iran in the AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers Round 2 to be played from September 16 to 24.

The venue of the matches is yet to be decided.

The Indian team made it to the Qualifiers Round 2 after emerging as the winners of Group F in Round 1, where they beat the Kyrgyz Republic (1-0) and Myanmar (2-1).

The top two teams from each group will qualify for the AFC U-17 Women’s Asian Cup to be held in Indonesia from April 7 to 20 next year.


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