So Australia move through to the semis of the AFC under-16 women's championships as the only team not to drop a game after beating Japan 3-1 in Thailand tonight. The two Korean teams, DPR Korea and Korea Republic drew in their round game, so they both finished on seven points in Group A while Australia topped Group B with a perfect nine points, three wins from three games. Australia will now play DPR Korea in the semi-finals on Thursday in Thailand. If they win that match, then they will have qualified for the under-17 FIFA women's World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago next year. The top-three teams go through from this tournament. But remember it's been four-years since an Australian women's youth team has made one of these events, so while they are in a great position - there is still plenty of work to do in the finals. Here's hoping this is the team to do it!
But to Monday night's game, three first-half goals to the Aussie girls set up the win. Brittany Whitfield scored in the 14th minute, followed by Teigen Allen in the 29th and then Caitlin Foord in 45+1.
The match-card is up here, more to follow tomorrow.
*And now an update from Tuesday, the FFA report is now up.
Australia fought back from a goal down to defeat Japan 3 – 1 in the final game of the group stage in the AFC U16 Women’s Championships in Thailand. Australia finished top of Group B and set up a semi-final clash with defending champions DPR Korea, who finished runners-up in Group A.
Japan took an early lead in the 7th minute when a Haruka Hamada cross found Kanna Oda unmarked at the back post for her shot to rebound off the goal post and onto Australian goalkeeper Brianna Davey who could do nothing but watch it fall into the back of the net. Australia managed to equalise in the 13th minute after a Teigen Allen corner was fumbled by the Japanese goalkeeper Mayu Yoshida for Brittany Whitfield to pounce on the mistake and slot the ball into the empty goal. Both teams looked to push forward and gain the upper hand, however it was Australia’s Teigen Allen who managed to break the deadlock in the 28th minute after receiving the ball just outside the 18-yard-box. After beating her defender Allen unleashed with a shot that the Japanese goalkeeper could do nothing to stop.
Australia then extended their advantage in first-half stoppage time when Caitlin Foord beat the offside trap courtesy of a through ball from Emily Van Egmond to finish precisely and round out the scoring.
The second half went by without much incident as Australia held onto their two goal advantage to finish the group stage with 14 goals for and only 1 against.
"We already knew we were through to the semi-finals but for the girls to fight back from one goal down so early in the match is testament to how much the players want to win and how unified they are as a group," said Westfield Australia U16 Women’s Head Coach Robbie Hooker.
"We'll look to continue working on the technical side of our game but tactically we are playing very well and the players are now focused on the semi-final against DPR Korea."
Australia’s next game is against DPR Korea on Thursday 12 November at 7.00pm local (11.00pm AEDT) at the Supachalasai National Stadium. Japan will face Group A winners Korea Republic.