Saturday 21 January 2017, 16:50

Asian hopefuls eye France 2019 berths

Just a few months after hosting the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup, Jordan once again finds itself in the global spotlight, with the country preparing to host another major competition, namely the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. The tournament will decide which five countries will represent the world’s most populous continent at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.

Some 20 national teams will be fighting it out for the four remaining tickets to the continental finals, to be held on 7 to 22 April next year. Though they are already guaranteed a place in the competition as the host nation, Jordan have chosen to take part in the qualifiers, with a view to furthering their development.

The draw The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has announced that Japan, Australia and China PR, the countries who filled the top three places at the last Women’s Asian Cup in Vietnam in 2014, will qualify automatically for next year’s continental finals. The 21 teams taking part in the qualifiers were seeded in five pots according to their records and drawn into four groups: three of five teams and one of six, which will include Jordan.

The first pot of seeds was comprised of Korea Republic, Thailand, Vietnam and Jordan, while the second pot included Myanmar, Chinese Taipei, Uzbekistan and Philippines. Hong Kong, Lebanon, Bahrain and Iran made up the third pot, while India, Palestine and one of the seven non-seeded teams (Korea DPR, Guam, Iraq, Singapore, Syria, Tajikistan or United Arab Emirates) formed the fourth. Pot five was comprised of the six remaining unseeded teams.

Format Taking place on 3 to 12 April this year, the qualifying competition will be hosted in four countries – Palestine, Vietnam, Korea DPR and Tajikistan – with all four nations being kept apart in the draw. The winners of the four groups will all advance to the final tournament. Should Jordan finish top of their group, the runners-up will qualify.

Quotes "We were happy a few months ago to host the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup, and today here, we are hosting the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018. The Jordanian women’s team participated for the first time in the last edition in 2014, and we are looking forward to achieve positive results in the second participation. I wish good luck for all the teams and as always, we say: Welcome to Jordan." Jordan FA president Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein

"On behalf of the AFC, we are pleased to hold the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 for the first time in West Asia, and we are confident that Jordan will do an excellent job, as it did in hosting the FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup. Women's football in Asia has the capability to compete globally, and this was proved over the past year when Korea DPR won the U-17 and U-20 FIFA Women's World Cup titles. I wish for the all the teams that will participate in the qualifiers to achieve their dreams of competing at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018, which will give glory to the five teams that qualify for the FIFA Women's World Cup France 2019." AFC General Secretary John Windsor

The groups

A: Jordan, Philippines, Bahrain, Iraq, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan*

B: Korea Republic, Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, India, Korea DPR*

C: Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Lebanon, Palestine*, Guam

D: Vietnam*, Myanmar, Iran, Syria, Singapore

( - Qualifying tournament hosts)*