Race for Paris 2024 Continues

Asia’s Best Dream of Paris 2024

Paris 2024.
Twelve Asian teams will continue their quest to reach Paris when the Asian Qualifiers resumes with Round 2 this Thursday. Divided into three groups, the four sides within each will play a single round-robin league format in their respective centralised venues over three matchdays from October 26 to November 1, 2023. 

The group winners and the best-ranked runners-up will advance to Round 3 – to be played in February 2024 – and will battle in two pairs of home and away matches, with the victors of each tie filling the two berths on offer for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) at the 2024 Women’s Olympic Football Tournament. 

 The tournament in France will mark the eighth occasion of a women’s football competition at the Olympic Games and this is the sixth time that the AFC is organising the Asian Qualifiers since first doing so in 2004. Australia, China PR, Japan and DPR Korea are the only four Asian women’s football teams to have ever participated in the Olympics and the quartet will be in contention again, having all made it to the second round. 

An extra-time defeat to China PR was all that prevented Korea Republic from making it to the 2020 Olympics and they will embark on their journey for redemption by kicking off the first match of Round 2. 

The Taeguk Ladies will face Thailand at the Xiamen Egret Stadium, with the Group B fixture to start at 3.30pm. In the evening, hosts China PR – silver medallists in 1996 – will seek to clinch a seventh Olympic appearance. No other Asian team has featured more in the Olympic Games than the reigning AFC Women’s Asian Cup™ champions but the Steel Roses will face stiff opposition in the form of DPR Korea, who are looking to add to their two appearances from 2008 and 2012. Kick-off is at the same venue and scheduled for 7.35pm. 

The Perth Rectangular Stadium (HBF Park), which hosted five Group Stage matches during the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023, will be utilised for the first matchday in Group A. At 4pm, Chinese Taipei take to the pitch to face the Philippines, who made their Qualifiers debut at the previous edition. The Matildas then run out in front of a home crowd at 7pm to begin their hunt for a third consecutive qualification and fifth Olympic appearance against the Islamic Republic of Iran, who are taking part in their fourth Qualifiers. 

Finally, Japan will aim to carry the momentum from their thrilling Women’s World Cup showing over to these Qualifiers when the 2012 Olympic runners-up open Group C at 3pm against India at the Lokomotiv Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The Nadeshiko are eyeing a fifth Olympic appearance, while the Blue Tigresses are contesting their fifth Qualifiers. 

Uzbekistan are also taking part in their fifth qualifying campaign and can count on their home support at the Bunyodkor Stadium in Tashkent when they entertain the challenge of Vietnam, who have reached the final stage in each of the previous two Qualifiers, at 5pm.

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