China's women defeat Taiwan to qualify for Olympic playoff round

Photo: China Women's National Team

Taiwan and China went into the match against each other knowing that they had each defeated Thailand. A win for Taiwan would give them a chance of making it to the playoff round, where they would qualify if China lost to Australia. A win for China would put them into the playoff round. 

The Taiwan perspective pre-match

Taiwan went into the match knowing that they still had a glimmer of hope of making it to the playoff round which would be a huge upset.

However, their opponent China is one of the best women's sides in the world. So even though Taiwan went into the game knowing they did have a chance of making it into the playoff round on paper, in reality, it was likely going to be a road too far for the ladies of Taiwan's Mulan league.

Taiwan have played against China on numerous occasions over recent years, as one would expect for two countries (yes countries, we don't have to follow FIFA's bollocks) that are in close proximity. There is also very little animosity between the women's sides so they seem to have no issue with playing against each other, though the EAFF second round was moved to Guam, obviously because China was involved.

Taiwan hasn't even scored past China in recent matches, so as it happens, I'd be happy enough with them scoring some goals and still not winning.

The China perspective pre-match

China went into this match after dismantling Thailand, winning that game 6-0. As far as I am aware, China was quarantined before they could play their game and was doing drills in their hotel room.

Thailand is no match for China though even with the side had to do training in the hallways of the hotel. Taiwan is a similar level, therefore China should go into the game with the belief that they can also brush Taiwan aside, and rumble along nicely into the final playoff round.

China will likely go into the game without too much fear of their opponents due to them facing each other so often. They'll most likely know Taiwan's game plan inside and out.

Taiwan perspective post-match

Taiwan again took a bit of a hiding from China. On the plus side, they fed a lot of younger players into the team for these games, and that should hold them in good stead. The same problem remains for all of Taiwan's national teams at every age level though the domestic scene just isn't good enough. 

There isn't enough competition for the players and teams, therefore when they make the step up, they come up a cropper as is seen time and time again when they have to play the likes of China, South Korea or Japan. 

The victory over Thailand should be seen as a success, but they need to be pushing to achieve more. The Thailand win was a brilliant result, but it should be built on, and work towards getting to a point where it is possible to compete with the likes of Japan, South Korea and China instead of applauding that one win as monumental. 

The problem I feel is one which seeps into all their national sides. They don't have the belief that they can compete with the top sides. Even though that is true right now, you should never go into the game with a defeatist mentality. After the win against Thailand, the manager of Taiwan's women's side said something like, oh well it was a wonderful result against them, but it's not possible that we can qualify. 

He is just being realistic, I get that, but at the same time, I thought his statement was still defeatist. He could have said something similar to its going to be a very tough job, to defeat China, they're one of the best in the women's game.

However, we are going to go at them and give it a bloody good go. Taiwan, in my opinion, feel inferior and it doesn't help. Even though it likely still would not change the result too much, I often just feel Taiwan decide it is better to lose by one or two goals than going for it and getting hammered.

They have though done well to get to this round, after having to play two qualifying rounds prior, and win both groups to get through. 

China perspective post-match

China will be pleased as punch with how their qualifying process has gone for the Olympics so far. The only side they would likely consider a difficult match up would have been Australia when they saw the group they'd been plonked in. 

That is how it has turned out. Two games, 11 goals and 0 conceded is a success for any team regardless if your the dog and duck, your kid's school team, or Brazil. There is really nothing that you can say which is negative about that kind of record. However, we will really see what China is made of when they face the Aussies in the final match. 

If they do make it through that game and succeed in winning again, maybe they should have quarantine training before every game, because it's a case of so far, so good for China. They have the luxury to rotate their squad, just as Australia does. 

Even by qualifying from this group stage, there is still a playoff round after this. where each country needs to play against each other to decide who will go to the Olympics as there are only 4 spots available. South Korea and Vietnam have already qualified from Group A. South Korea will play the runner up of Group B and Vietnam will play the winner of Group B. 

Therefore the victor of the match between China and Australia is important because out of those two sides you would rather play against Vietnam, as I believe China would have more chance against them than the Koreans. 

Qualifying for the Olympics is brick solid. It is basically extremely difficult because of how few spots there are in Tokyo compared to how many teams want to be there. Fingers crossed that China does not end up playing against South Korea and there is a possibility we could have two sides in the finals, although Korea will find it tough against Australia. We are still hopeful that both Korea and China can make it to the Olympics.

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