Asia's disappointing Women's World Cup report card


Asia will look back at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup with disappointment, but the picture is not quite so simple when it comes to the individual nations.

It was hoped going into the tournament that three or four of the five representatives would survive the group stage.

Korea Republic were the question mark but the Taeguk Nangja were soon heading back east early along with Thailand.

Three in the second round is a reasonable return - followers of the men’s game in Asia would be delighted with that - but that is as good as it got.


There has been some harsh reaction down under to the penalty shootout exit against Norway.

Australia didn’t play well, but there have been many champions able to look back on a scratchy shootout win earlier in the tournament with smiles.

Perhaps the disappointment comes from the hope.

Expectations of a genuine trophy challenge spread up from Australia and then around Asia.

This was the time for the Matildas, despite the dodgy preparation, to go very deep into the tournament, perhaps all the way.

The amazing fight-back from 2-0 down to beat Brazil 3-2 was an obvious highlight and meant that the shock (at the time, at least) opening game defeat to Italy could be written off as Sam Kerr got into her stride.

It wasn't to be but the margins were fine with Australia almost making it to the last eight and a winnable game against England.


The champions of 2011 and runners-up of 2015 would have settled for semi-finalists in 2019 but it was not to be.

Japan are going through something of a generational shift and it showed in a group stage where they were not the same force as four or eight years ago.

But they can feel hard done by to lose 2-1 to the Netherlands, one of the tournament’s favourites, in the second round.

The winning penalty, given in the last-minute, was extremely harsh.

Japan did not light up the competition as they did in the past but they showed they can still live with the best, can still play some delightful football, and still produce excellent players.

The future is still bright though there is hard work ahead for Japan and all Asia.


China leave France wondering whether they could have done more.

Getting out of a tough group and losing in the second round to Italy is nothing to be ashamed of, but just one goal scored in four games suggests that this was a team not firing on all cylinders.

Worries that the Steel Roses were too reliant on star player Wang Shuang going forward turned out to be true.

With China looking to sit back and hit on the counter-attack, the Paris Saint-Germain player did not have the kind of support she needed.

Well-organised and hard-working throughout, China were tight and tough to beat but were unfortunate to come up against an impressive Italian team that scored early on a hot day and were able to take control of the game.

China were not far away but the depth of talent was missing.

Korea Republic

On the face of it, 2019 was a huge disappointment for Korea.

For a nation that reached the last 16 in 2015, to finish bottom of the group with zero points and a goal difference of minus seven was not part of the script for a team with plenty of talent.

That script envisaged an opening game defeat to hosts France in Paris, a win over Nigeria and a draw against Norway - more than enough to get through.

The first game ended 4-0 with a sense that Korea never believed they could really get anything from the game, as they were swept aside by Les Bleus.

Against Nigeria and Norway, Korea were probably the better team, made most of the running yet ended up losing both.

Coach Yoon Deok-kyu has been there for years but chopped and changed too much and was criticised for some of those selections.

Individual mistakes, especially when the team was on top, did not help and before Korea knew it, they were out.


First to fall were Thailand.

Southeast Asia’s sole representative will remember France for all the wrong reasons.

It started with a 13-0 thrashing at the hands of a relentless United States.

It made headlines around the world as the Americans celebrated each and every goal with gusto.

It also made for a nightmare experience for the team that at least showed determination to score against Sweden in a 5-1 defeat and hold a desperate Chile to a 2-0 loss.

That will be scant consolation however.

All knew that there was a long way to go in the country but the size of the gap did come as something of a shock especially as Thailand actually won a game back in the 2015 tournament.

The danger is that the experience will mean the women’s game will receive even less funding, attention and support than it does at the moment.