Women's 2022 Olympic qualifying

Photo by the CTFA
The second round of qualifying for the women's 2020 Olympics gets underway tomorrow night, and East Asia has two teams involved as this stage - Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong's women's team travelled to Uzbekistan, where they will face a tough task to make the next round when they face Vietnam, Jordan and host country for this group Uzbekistan. Uzbekistan and Vietnam will provide a hurdle too far I believe for Hong Kong's women and it looks like they could bow out at this stage.

If they are to get through, they will need a positive result against either Uzbekistan or Vietnam, and defeat Jordan, otherwise, they won't have a chance. Unfortunately, this will be as far as they go in the Olympics, but they are an improving nation in the world of women's football and have done well to get to this stage of the qualifying competition.

If they do manage to make the final round, then they really will go no further as big hitters of women's football enter the fray - North Korea and China, plus dominant Asian sides South Korea and Australia. We hope Hong Kong's women make it through, but it is a tall order indeed.

Taiwan

Taiwan's women have done well in games and tournaments recently and that has been reflected in them now being the 8th best women's team in Asia. This has been shown in the fact that they ended up being seeded in pot one for the group draw, therefore they have a group where they could easily get to the final stage.

Taiwan will face Palestine, the Philippines, and Iran. The games were supposed to be held in Palestine, but because Israel doesn't allow Iranian citizens to travel through their country there was no way that the Iranian women's team could safely get to Palestine.

Therefore the games were moved to a neutral venue - Qatar - which is a big shame for the Palestinians who lose their home advantage all because they got paired with Iran in the draw, and due to politics. On the flip side, that is good news for Taiwan's women as playing against Palestine in Palestine regardless if it's men's, women's or any other national team of Palestine, we believe the atmosphere would be quite fervently in support of the local side, and some of the visiting teams may weaken in that kind of environment.

If Taiwan can play as well as they did in the first round, where they already defeated the Philippines, then they should make the final round. The final round is likely as far as they'll get as they'll face the best Asian women's sides, and at the moment Taiwan's women fall just short of that.

The gap between the second tier and first tier women's sides in Asia isn't huge but it has been difficult for the second tier sides to get close to the elite ones. Taiwan will be looking to bridge that gap if they get to the final round under their new Japanese coach - Echigo Kazuo.

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