South Korea will vie for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup berth with the Philippines next week after they failed to reach the semifinals at a qualifying tournament.
South Korea beat Vietnam 4-0 in their last Group B match at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup at King Abdullah II Stadium in Amman, Jordan, on Friday (local time). However, the result wasn't enough for the women's national team to join the last four at the continental tournament that also guarantees a World Cup spot.
The AFC Women's Asian Cup doubles as the final Asian qualifier for the 2019 Women's World Cup in France, with the top five nations qualifying for the showpiece event in women's football. The top two teams from the two groups that reach the semifinals are awarded the World Cup spots, while the third-place teams from each group will have to square off in the fifth-place match to earn the last ticket to the World Cup.
South Korea finished third in Group B with five points on one win and two draws. They had the same points as Australia and Japan, but lost the tiebreaking edge against the two teams on goals scored. Before the match against Vietnam, South Korea had two scoreless draws with Australia and Japan.
South Korea could have finished second in Group B if the match between Australia and Japan had ended without a draw. The two teams, however, played to a 1-1 draw at Amman International Stadium in Amman.
Australia, currently the top-ranked AFC team at world No. 6, eventually won the group over Japan on better goal difference, and will meet Thailand in the semis. Defending champions Japan will face China in the last four.
South Korea, led by head coach Yoon Duk-yeo, will now have to learn their World Cup fate in the fifth-place match against the Philippines, which finished third in Group A on Tuesday. The winner of this match will join China, Thailand, Australia and Japan to represent Asia at the 2019 Women's World Cup.
South Korea are looking to make their third Women's World Cup appearance in France. They played in showpiece events in 2003 and 2015.
Against Vietnam, South Korea showed upgraded firepower.
The Taeguk Ladies earned their first goal in the 14th minute when captain Cho So-hyun headed down a Jeon Ga-eul corner. Lee Geum-min doubled the lead in the 38th after she received a through ball from Ji So-yun in the box and finished with her right foot.
South Korea made 3-0 in the 49th with Lee Min-a's goal. Vietnamese goalkeeper Dang Thi Kieu Trinh left the penalty area for clearance, but Ji quickly headed down the ball for Lee, who fired a right-footed strike into the empty net.
Lee then scored her second goal of the match in the 73th. Lim Seon-joo's close range effort from a set piece opportunity was denied by Trinh, but Lee's follow-up attempt made the score 4-0. (Yonhap News)