The Asian Football Confederation today confirmed details of the revamped Olympic women’s football qualification tournament ahead of Tokyo 2020.
The new format will for the first time include a home-and-away play-off to determine which which two nations will take their place alongside hosts Japan as Asia’s three representatives at next year’s Games.
With the exception of qualifying for Beijing 2008, the tournament to decide the AFC’s Olympic qualification has been held in a single country, usually consisting of a group stage and knockouts, with the three best-placed teams making the cut.
This edition of qualification will be similar, with eight teams – Australia, DPR Korea, group hosts China and Korea Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, Chinese Taipei and Vietnam – split into two groups. However, in a unique twist, the winners and runners-up of each group will then face off in a two-legged tie, with winner of each advancing to the final Olympic tournament.
Teams will learn their opponents at the group stage draw this Friday, to be held at AFC Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur. The group stage of the qualification tournament will be held from 3-9 February 2020, while the play-offs will take place on 6 and 11 March 2020. The Olympic tournament itself kicks off on July 22, with the women’s Gold Medal match on 7 August at Tokyo’s new National Stadium.
This match would mark the first major international competitive women’s match on Australian soil since 2007, which saw the Matildas host DPR Korea, Hong Kong, and Chinese Taipei in the final round of AFC Olympic qualification in Coffs Harbour.