The East Asian Football Championship has reached the final round, they will take place on 8-16 December 2017 in Japan with Ajinomoto Stadium hosting the men’s games and Soga Sports Park hosting the women’s games. Both stadiums are located in Tokyo.
This is currently the 7th edition of the East Asian Championship, it originally started out as Dynasty Cup which was created as a 4 team tournament with the aim of raising the level of football in East Asia. When the East Asian Football Federation was formed in 2002, the East Asian Football Championship replaced the Dynasty Cup.
Japan, South Korea and China have the right to enter the competition automatically at the final stage. This is likely due to them often being the highest ranked Asian teams in FIFA rankings, and also having the biggest audience willing to watch the competition.
The East Asian Championship has 3 round to the competition in total, a first preliminary round, a second preliminary round and then a final round. Which round the teams enter is based on their previous records in the tournament.
This makes it extremely difficult for one of the smaller teams to make it to the final round as each preliminary round only has 1 qualifier, meaning you need to win a high percentage of all your games to stand a chance of qualifying. However, for the nations lurking in the bottom reaches of the FIFA rankings it’s not always easy to arrange friendlies during international breaks, so they benefit from playing competitive games in this competition.
During the 2017 version of the competition, the first round was competed between Taiwan, Mongolia, Macau and The Northern Mariana Islands, with Taiwan winning the group and entering the second round of games. This round of games was hosted in Guam.
The second round was competed by Hong Kong, North Korea, Taiwan and Guam, with North Korea winning the group and qualifying for the final round. This round of games were played in Hong Kong.
With North Korea advancing to the final round, that makes the final lineup – North Korea, Japan, South Korea and China. The aim of the competition is to still raise the level of football in the region while these games also have the added benefit of being used as warm up games for the 2018 World Cup and the 2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers.
We have added the current rankings of East Asian Nations below (top 4 nations have been omitted until games are played). Taiwan (Chinese Taipei) have 12 points because they won the first round. The points from the first round and the second round have been added together in the table.