AFC Women’s Asian Cup Power Rankings: Japan hold No. 1 spot, but China not far behind

The 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup is officially underway in India as 11 teams compete for the title and five World Cup spots in the upcoming FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup. After two group-stage games in, China, Japan and Australia lead their respective groups, while Iran earned their first-ever points in their Asian Cup debut. India, meanwhile, had to bow out of the tournament due to a COVID outbreak within the team.

Let’s take a look at where teams land on our Power Rankings now that the tournament moves into Matchday 3. As always, fans can watch all the action live and on demand on Paramount+.

1. Japan (–)

The 2018 Asian Cup champs keep the top spot with six points out of six. The Nadeshiko defeated Vietnam 3-0 and Yui Narumiya scored her second goal of the competition. The win clinched a quarterfinal spot and helped Japan stay atop Group B heading into the final matchday. They’ll face group co-favorites South Korea in what could be a possible playoff preview.

2. China (+1)

The Steel Roses secured their spot in the knockouts with a 7-0 thumping of Iran, with Wang Shuang leading the way with a brace. With first place in Group A locked after two consecutive wins, they are now looking ahead and preparing for their quarterfinal opponent. 

3. South Korea (+1)

South Korea punched their quarterfinal ticket with a 2-0 win over Myanmar. Lee Geum-min scored the opening goal and an own goal from Myanmar’s Khin Mo Mo Tun put the game out of reach. They are level on points with Japan in the group, so something’s gotta give on the final matchday when they play the Nadeshiko. If they can win the possession game against Japan, they’ll be in decent shape to pick up three points and win the group. 

4. Australia (-2)

The Matildas are still among the favorites to win the tournament, but the Philippines shut down their attacking line for the first 50 minutes of their match. They were able to regroup and find the breakthrough thanks to top striker Sam Kerr, who now leads the competition with six goals.

5. Thailand (+3)

An opening day 1-0 loss against the Philippines stunned Thailand as the goal came in late in the game, but the team responded with a 4-0 win over Indonesia. Kanyanat Chetthabut recorded a hat trick in the win, but Thailand’s defense will need to remain organized against Australia on the final matchday.

6. Philippines (-1)

After a historic win 1-0 win against Thailand on opening day, the Philippines suffered a 4-0 loss to Australia. Not for lack of effort or game planning, the team was able to keep Australia off the score sheet in the opening 50 minutes of the match before fading in the second half. The team sits in third place in Group B standings and a win against Indonesia could put them in second place and into the quarterfinals.

7. Chinese Taipei (+3)

An 5-0 loss to China puts them at an early disadvantage in Group A, but the shakeup to the tournament with India’s withdrawal means Chinese Taipei at least have a chance to advance out of the group. They need all three points when they face Iran.

8. Vietnam (+1)

The team has yet to earn a result in group-stage play and are facing a must win scenario heading into the final matchday against Myanmar. Their attack has had an equal amount of total shots (4) over the last two games compared to Myanmar and will need more production from their forward Pham Hai Yen. 

9. Iran (-2)

What a bummer. They earned their first-ever point in the competition against India in the opening matchday, but the result has now been voided due to India’s withdrawal from the competition. The team showed off an organized defense anchored by goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei. The current shift in Group A means that Iran will now get the chance to take second place in the group with a win over Chinese Taipei, but a draw won’t suffice. They will need more from their attacking line if they want to advance into the knockout rounds.

10. Myanmar (+1)

A 2-0 Matchday 2 loss to South Korea likely ends Myanmar’s quest to reach the knockout stage with their goal differential now at -7. They have failed to contain and set counters against their two opponents thus far. If we’re grasping for a moral victory, at least they did not suffer another five-goal shellacking this time around.

11. Indonesia (+1)

After suffering a nightmare blowout against Australia, Indonesia came up short and suffered a 4-0 loss to Thailand. They haven’t been able to show that they are a threat in the group stage.

12. India (-6)

The tournament hosts suffered a huge blow to their Asian Cup hopes when the team was struck with a string of positive COVID-19 cases. After positive tests and injury impacted the team, their failure to field a minimum 13 players led to an official withdrawal based on official rules regarding COVID-19 in the competition. Despite earning a point in their first tournament match, all points and future games and now considered null and void. 

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