Ultimate guide: Westfield Matildas at Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games qualifiers

Five matches separate the Westfield Matildas from a trip to their fourth Olympic Games and a chance to create history.

There is a clear path to Tokyo 2020, but the route does not come without it’s roadblocks. First, Ante Milicic’s side must travel to Wuhan, China PR, to navigate the first series of barriers.

Three matches in six days in will decide which of Asia’s women’s teams advance to the final playoff round and which sides will fall by the wayside. 

Ahead of the Olympic Games qualifiers in February, we break down all you need to know about the Westfield Matildas’ dates with destiny.

Football-Account-Olympic-Qualifiers

The background

Since women’s football started being played at the Olympic Games in Atlanta 1996, Australia have made it to three of the seven tournaments, with a best finish being trips to the Quarter Finals on two occasions.

In 2004, the Westfield Matildas won their first match at an Olympic Games, a 1-0 win over host nation Greece with Heather Garriock on the scoresheet. In Athens 2004 and Rio de Janierio 2016, the Green and Gold’s adventure took them to the last eight, but never beyond.

Before Ante Milicic’s side can even consider matching or bettering the achievements of Westfield Matildas teams of the past, Australia need to book their spot at Tokyo 2020.

When are the qualifiers?

The third round of the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament takes place between Monday, February 3 and Sunday, February 9. Australia received a bye through the first two rounds.

Where is it?

Group B will be played in the capital of China PR’s Hubei province, Wuhan. 

The Green and Gold’s three matches will be played at a multi-purpose 30,000 capacity venue within Five Rings Sports Centre.

Who are Australia playing?

Milicic’s side were drawn into the second of the two groups – Group B – and will face the following teams: 

Chinese Taipei

Ranked 40th in the world, Chinese Taipei will provide the first opposition for Sam Kerr and company on Monday, 3 February at 7pm AEDT.

Thailand

Two places above their group rivals in 38th, Thailand featured at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in France, exiting at the group stage. They will meet Australia on 7pm AEDT on Thursday, 6 February.

China PR

The world ranked 15th side, eight spots back from seventh-placed Australia, cannot be taken lightly. Like the Green and Gold, China made it through the group stage in France to the Round of 16. The sides meet on Sunday, 9 February at 10.30pm AEDT.

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Who else is competing?

Group A comprises of Korea Republic, Vietnam and Myanmar, and will be played at the Jeju World Cup Stadium in Seogwipo, Korea Republic. 

Originally, DPR Korea were drawn in this group but they have withdrawn and will not be replaced.

How do we advance?

Each team plays each other once in a round robin-style pool during this stage. 

The teams that finish first and second in their groups will move on to the playoff round. The teams that finish third and fourth will be eliminated.  

Then what?

The four successful teams move on to a two-legged playoff round, played home and away on March 6 and March 11, 2020.

The winners of Group A play the runners-up in Group B, and vice versa. Those two ties determine the two qualifiers that will join host nation Japan at Tokyo 2020. 

The losers’ fate is sealed. The winners punch their ticket to the global sporting extravaganza in Tokyo in July-August 2020. 

Upcoming Matches – Westfield Matildas

Westfield Matildas v Chinese Taipei
Date: Monday, 3 February 2020
Venue: Five Rings Sports Centre, Wuhan, China
Kick-off: 4.00pm (local); 7.00pm (AEDT)

Thailand v Westfield Matildas
Date: Thursday, 6 February 2020
Venue: Five Rings Sports Centre, Wuhan, China
Kick-off: 4.00pm (local); 7.00pm (AEDT)

Westfield Matildas v China PR
Date: Sunday, 9 February 2020
Venue: Five Rings Sports Centre, Wuhan, China
Kick-off: 7.30pm (local); 10.30pm (AEDT)  

Ticketing & broadcast information to be advised.

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