Asian Cup: Defending champions Japan and Korea target Group C quarter-finals | Soccer News

PUNE: Potentially one win away from AFC Women’s Asian Cup quarter-finals, defending champions Japan will be looking to seal the deal when they face Vietnam in their Group C fixture here Monday.
In another Group C fixture, Korea Republic will be looking to secure back-to-back wins over Myanmar.
Japan’s impressive 5-0 win over Myanmar in their opener last Friday, along with Korea Republic’s 3-0 win over Vietnam, put the Nadeshiko in a comfortable position to defend the titles consecutive wins in 2014 and 2018.
Japan dominated against a defensive Myanmar side but showed their true ability in the second half to score four times.
Vietnam also took a defensive approach against Korea Republic and while Japan are favourites, head coach Futoshi Ikeda said he wanted his side to continue in the same vein against their South Asian opponents -Is Monday.
“We have to maintain the condition of our players and analyze our performance, especially our passing combination,” Ikeda said.
“We created a lot of chances to score, but we couldn’t find the back of the net, so we have to improve against Vietnam.”
COVID-19 issues and early jitters saw Vietnam concede an opening two goals against the Koreans, but Mai Duc Chung’s charges put up a much improved performance in the second half.
Vietnam couldn’t train together for more than 10 days due to COVID-19 cases in the squad.
The bulk of the squad, however, are back and fans can expect Vietnam to challenge the defending champions at the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex.
“I’m happy because we have even more time to prepare for Japan,” Mai said.
“My players will also have more time to recover from COVID, and then we will start our preparation.
“Japan are a top and skillful team. I think they are a strong opponent, but we will do our best in the game.”
Korea Republic are currently second in the table, behind Japan on goal difference, while Vietnam and Myanmar are third and fourth respectively.
A win for Korea Republic, if followed by a win for Japan over Vietnam in Monday’s second group game, will mean the two East Asian teams will book their quarter-final spots with a game to lose.
Colin Bell’s Korea Republic opened their campaign with a 3-0 victory over Vietnam on Friday, with a brace from Ji So-yun.
Bell said Korea Republic prepared well for Myanmar as they expect them to use a similar style of play against Vietnam.
“We tried to prepare for the first two games the same way,” Bell said.
“We expected the teams to have a similar approach.”
Myanmar, meanwhile, face a crucial game in which they will need to secure their first points if they are to compete for the top two in the group.
Recovery will be key for the Southeast Asians, who put up a disciplined defense against defending champions Japan but a dip in energy in the second half saw them concede another four goals to lose 5-0 .
Myanmar know the Republic of Korea well, having suffered a 7-0 defeat in the final round of the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers.
“Korea Republic are another solid team, and we played against them once in the Olympic qualifiers,” assistant coach Bo Bo Aung said.
“We will first discuss our mistakes in the previous game (against Japan) and make improvements for the next one.”

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