Woman's football in East Asia

Around the world, the woman's game is becoming bigger with the last woman's World Cup Final attracting a crowd of over 53,000 in 2015. That was a game between the USA and Japan were the best team at the time where the USA as they showed running out 5-2 winners. Japan the best team in East Asia at the time still is in terms of the rankings. Although China, North Korea and South Korea are all making strides to improve their teams. 

The current world rankings show all four East Asian nations in the top 20 in the woman's game showing that they must be doing something right. Recently we got an idea of where the East Asian sides rank among the best in the woman's game. As Japan, South Korea and China took part in the prestigious Algarve Cup recently. The tournament is by invitation only so does not necessarily have the best sides but is a very good marker of where these teams are on the world stage.

The tournament is played in a round-robin format for the 12 sides taking part, meaning every team plays equal games and so you can see how the teams place from first to twelve. This year we saw Japan come sixth, South Korea seventh and China eleventh from this you can see there's room for improvement for all. 

So what did we learn from the competition, well despite China's poor position overall in the Algarve Cup this still did serve as good preparations for the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup. This is a crucial competition also as it will serve as the qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. Helping the big Asian sides take it seriously. As with Japan and South Korea, China will know there's room for development. 

Japan is currently within the World and Asia best sides and has sat as high as third in the world in the past. Although back in the 2011 World Cup Final Japan beat the USA 3–1 in a penalty shootout, becoming the first Asian team to win the FIFA Women's World Cup. South Korea and China have not had such success on the world stage but over the last ten years have been steadily improving. 

There is room for growth in the game in East Asia but upcoming AFC Women's Asian Cup in Jordan later this year will be a good indication of where we are at the woman's game in Asia. As the game grows worldwide it is important that the Asian sides don't get left behind and develop with everyone else. 

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