Korea DPR booked their ticket to the FIFA Women's World Cup 2007 finals after strolling to a 3-2 win against Japan in today's third place play-off of the AFC Women's Asian Cup 2006 in Adelaide today. Victory means that Korea DPR become the third Asian team to secure their presence at next year's finals, following Australia , who sealed qualification on Thursday and tournament hosts, China.
With so much at stake, it was understandable that both Korea DPR and Japan took a cautious stance during the opening minutes. But the tempo of the game was upped significantly when Ri Un-suk connected with Ju Yun-mi's centre to rifle home a low strike and put the Koreans ahead on 23 minutes. Ri Un-gyong added a second just after the half hour, lofting an exquisite chip over Japanese keeper Miho Fukomoto, then made it 3-0 moments later, poking home a loose ball from close range.
Japan's response came almost immediately - Sakai Tomoe's raking pass was nodded into the path of Kozue Ando, who coolly finished to put Japan back in contention. The goal tipped the game in Japan's favour and buoyed by a series of substitutions, Hiroshi Ohashi's side began to apply more pressure and had their opponents entrenched in their own half for much of the remaining minutes.
Korea stood their ground until the last minute of normal time when Yuki Nagasato popped up to head home a second goal for Japan but it served only as a consolation as the final whistle was blown soon after.