AFC Women's Asia Cup semis evenly matched

Ho Chi Minh City, May 21 (IANS) There were no surprises at the ongoing Asian Football Confederations (AFC) Women's Asian Cup here as the four strongest teams qualified for the semi-finals.

China will take on Japan and South Korea face off against Australia at Thong Nhat Stadium Thursday, reports Xinhua.

World champions Japan, who topped Group A with an attacking brand of football, scoring 13 goals in two wins and a draw, will face eight-time Asian champions China, who were also unbeaten with 10 goals.

Insiders said Japan will go into the match with a psychological advantage since they dominated in recent years and went on to bigger things like a World Cup crown.

Not surprisingly China are cautious and Japan are confident.

"We watched Japan's matches in the group stage and made some analysis, and we hope to perform better than them and get as good result as possible," Chinese coach Hao Wei told local media at the pre-match press conference Wednesday.

Japanese head coach Norio Sasaki said that it will be a tough match because China have many talented players as they showed in the match against South Korea, but Japan still hopes to win and advance to the final.

Another semi-final match will be between Group A's runner-up Australia, who is AFC defending champion with a modest goal-scoring record of seven goals in the group stage, and South Korea, who topped Group B with some good performances and 16 goals.

"Australia is a very strong team and we will prepare well and try our best to play a good match against them," South Korea's coach, Yoon Duk Yeok was quoted by Vietnam News daily Wednesday.

Australian honcho Alen Stajcic was wary of South Korea and expected a tough match, but was not too concerned about his team's goal-scoring ability.

"It can be extremely tough because South Korea is a very good team technically and have a lot of good players. So we would try hard and hopefully produce some good attacking football," he said, adding that both teams have a 50-50 chance.

Australia, China, Japan and South Korea have already won the 2015 Canada World Cup qualification by entering the Asia Cup semi-finals.