Asian favourites start strongly
© Getty Images

Korea DPR and Japan both commenced their push for a berth at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup™ with comfortable victories in their respective opening Group A matches on Thursday. The new-look North Koreans defeated Thailand 3-0 while the Nadeshiko overwhelmed Myanmar 8-0 with both matches played in Chengdu, China.

The Koreans were two goals to the good in as many minutes with striker Jon Myong-Hwa headed home the opener inside the first minute, and then captain Kim Yong-Ae, who scored the winner in the final against China two years ago, added a second a minute later. The Thais battled stoically in defence throughout the match with goalkeeper Waraporn Boonsing heavily worked before Jo Yun-Mi eventually sealed a deserved win with a goal 17 minutes from full time.

Japan who are still gunning for their first Asian title after four runners-up finishes, made a statement of intent with their comprehensive win against Myanmar. The Japanese scored at a steady rate throughout the contest leading by three at the interval, with two-time AFC Women’s Player of the Year Homare Sawa and Mami Yamaguchi ending the match with two goals apiece.

The 11-day AFC Women’s Asian Cup doubles as qualifying for Germany 2011 with the top three nations to earn passage to the 16-nation women’s showpiece tournament.