New Delhi: The Indian women’s football team has been drawn in Group C alongside Japan, Vietnam and Uzbekistan in the second round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Football Qualifying Tournament to be played between October 23 and November 1.
The draw ceremony took place at Asian Football Confederation (AFC) House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Thursday.
India qualified for Round 2 with two wipeouts of the Kyrgyz Republic earlier this year. The Blue Tigresses beat the hosts in a two-legged Playoffs, 5-0 and 4-0.
The second round of the AFC Women’s Olympic qualifiers will feature 12 teams. They have been equally divided into three groups A to C. 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, 2024.
The winners will take the two spots reserved for Asia in the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Paris 2024.
The Indian women’s football team is currently placed 61st in the FIFA rankings. London 2012 Olympics silver medallists and world No. 11 Japan are the second-best AFC side, behind Australia. Vietnam are ranked 33rd while hosts Uzbekistan are 50th.
In the lead-up to the Round 1 games against the Kyrgyz Republic, India also played Uzbekistan in a one-off friendly, losing to an injury-time goal 3-2. The Blue Tigresses have suffered narrow one-goal losses in the three previous times 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.
Group A: Australia (Host), Chinese Taipei, Philippines, IR Iran
Group B: China PR (Host), Korea Republic, Thailand, DPR Korea
Group C: Japan, Vietnam, Uzbekistan (Host), India
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