AFC Women’s Asian Cup Power Rankings: Japan No. 1 despite Sam Kerr and Australia’s historic 18-goal demolition
The 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup is officially underway in India as 21 teams compete for the title and five World Cup spots in the upcoming FIFA 2023 Women’s World Cup. Group play has kicked off with Matchday 1 already in the books. China, Japan and Australia lead their respective groups, while Iran earned their first-ever points in their Asian Cup debut. Fans can watch all the action live and on demand on Paramount+.
Let’s take a look at where teams land on our Power Rankings now that the tournament moves into Matchday 2.
The 2018 Asian Cup champs claim the top spot after opening up their title defense with a 5-0 win over Myanmar. The Nadeshiko dominated, retained possession and kept Myanmar without a shot attempt. Riko Ueki and Yui Hasegawa recorded goals and assists, respectively, but Japan’s tactical ability was on full display as well thanks to a free-kick goal from Hikaru Naomoto.
The Matildas stole the headlines on Matchday 1 with the largest margin of win of the tournament to date, with an 18-0 thrashing of Indonesia. Eight Australians recorded goals in the blowout and Sam Kerr broke records once again, as she became the all-time leading scorer in Australian football. Her five-goal day at the office surpassed the 50-goal mark once set by Tim Cahill with the Socceroos. A brief lapse on defense nearly put the shoutout in jeopardy, but the back line still managed to limit Indonesia to just one shot on target.
With a 4-0 win over Chinese Taipei, the Steel Roses are on the hunt for their first Asian Cup title since 2006 and their ninth overall, which would be tops in AFC. Great performances from Wang Shuang could be the key to success. Shuang notched a brace, including a penalty-kick conversion three minutes into the match. Zhang Xin and Wang Shuang joined the fun with a goal apiece as China outshot their opposition 18 to 3.
4. South Korea
The Koreans are in the top tour after a 3-0 win over Vietnam. A pair of goals from Chelsea star Ji So-yun bookended an own goal from Tran Thi Phuong Thao to seal the deal. The first one — a one-timer off a deceptive dummy — may have been one of the best goals of the night as she opened her 2022 Asian Cup campaign in style.
With several U.S. recruits and led by former Australia head coach Alen Stajčić, this Philippines squad was viewed as heavy underdogs, having dropped their 12 previous meetings against Thailand. But it was Chandler McDaniel in the 81st minute who helped produced one of the biggest upsets of the tournament as Philippine pulled off a stunning win over Thailand. McDaniel’s patience on the ball to shake off defenders and create her own shot from distance led to a howler from Thailand’s goalkeeper.
The hosts played to a scoreless draw against Iran. They had better chances but were ultimately let down by their lack of finishing in front — 25 shots and only five on target. If they can convert their finishing against Chinese Taipei, India could find themselves in a better shape heading into the final day of the group stage.
The debutants walked away their first point in the Asian Cup after holding off India’s attack to a draw. A big performance in net by their goalkeeper Zohreh Koudaei kept things scoreless, but the attack will need to produce if they want to advance out of the group stage.
Fresh off a fourth-place finish in 2018, Thailand came up short in a shocking loss to the Philippines. Thailand’s best chance came two minutes into the match as a shot from Miranda Nild was deflected inside the box. They’ll need to pick things up against Indonesia next before Australia comes knocking in the final matchday.
Tran Thi Phuong Thao’s error was insult to injury on a tough night against South Korea. Vietnam struggled to handle their pressure from the opening whistle and conceded within opening five minutes. They will need to show more on Monday against Japan, the 2018 reigning champs.
10. Chinese Taipei
Chinese Taipei sit in last place of Group A and just outside of last place on our rankings after an opening day 4-0 defeat to China. The team struggled immediately as Pan Yen-Hsin committed a foul in the box just 90 seconds in. An early penalty kick from China and go-ahead goal in the ninth minute led to an eventual blowout.
Myanmar had a nightmare start to group place with a 5-0 defeat to reigning Asian Cup champions Japan. The team struggled on both sides of the ball as they unable to contain and defend against the Japanese attack or create an establish any offense of their own. Zero shots attempts won’t help them advance out of the group, and they have another big test against group co-favorites South Korea.
Not much to say after an overwhelming double-digit blowout loss to Australia with nine goals conceded in each half. They struggled to contain the Matildas and will need a miraculous turnaround to steal points off Thailand.