On 28th October, the draw for the AFC Women’s Asia Cup was held in the AFC House in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The tournament commences on 20th January 2022. The competition will take place in the state of Maharashtra. India will take on Iran in the opening match of the tournament on January 20th at the DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai.
Hosts India has been drawn in Group A alongside 8-time champions China, 3-time champions Chinese Taipei, and debutants Iran. With India seeded in Pot 1 as hosts for the draw, they had already avoided Japan and Australia, the finalists of the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup.
The Chinese will be one of the favourites at the Women’s Asian Cup. Boasting some of the most talented players in Asia like Wang Shanshan, Wang Shuang, and Wu Haiyan. Chinese Taipei has qualified for the Women’s Asian Cup for the first time since 2008. Chinese Taipei though ranked 17 places above India in the FIFA rankings, recently lost a friendly game played between them. India’s match against Chinese Taipei in the Women’s Asian Cup could go a long way in determining qualification for the knockout stages.
Iran women’s football team created history by qualifying for the Women’s Asian Cup for the first time ever. India has experience of beating Iran as well. The Blue Tigresses ran out 1-0 winners over the historian Iran team. Iranian women’s football has been on the rise in recent years. However, they are still ranked 72nd in the world, the second-lowest in the tournament, only ahead of Indonesia.
India’s fixtures at the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2022:
20 January: India vs Iran- Dy Patil, Navi Mumbai
23 January: Chinese Taipei vs India
26 January: India vs China
Format of the AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022:
The top two teams from each group and two of the three best third-placed teams among all groups will qualify for the quarter-finals. The four winners from the quarter-finals will also directly qualify for the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in Australia and New Zealand.
The feeling among the Indian Camp should be very optimistic. India will be reasonably happy with the draw as it presents them with a realistic chance to qualify for the last 8. The match against Chinese Taipei on 23 January is expected to be the decider match for the second spot since China are expected to top the group. The expectations from Iran seem to be dim, as they are favorites to crash out from the group.
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