IND vs JPN: Indian women’s football team will face a formidable challenge when they take on Japan in their first match of Round 2 of the AFC Olympic Qualifiers in Uzbekistan on October 27, 2023.
Japan are the highest-ranked team in Group C, at number 11 in the world, while India are the lowest-ranked, at number 61. Japan are also the most successful women’s football team in Asia, having won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011 and the AFC Women’s Asian Cup four times.
Despite the gap in rankings, India head coach Thomas Dennerby is confident that his team can put on a good performance against Japan. He said, “We know that Japan are a very strong team, but we are not afraid of them. We have been working hard in training and we are confident that we can give them a good game.”
India qualified for Round 2 of the Olympic Qualifiers by beating Kyrgyz Republic 5-0 and 4-0 in a two-legged play-off earlier this year. In the lead-up to the Round 1 qualifiers, India also played against Uzbekistan in a one-off friendly, losing 2-3 after an injury-time goal.
Dennerby believes that the friendly match against Uzbekistan was a good learning experience for his team. He said, “We learned a lot from the match against Uzbekistan. We saw what we need to improve on and we have been working on those things in training. We are confident that we will be more competitive in the Olympic Qualifiers.”
India will need to be at their best if they are to get a result against Japan. Japan are a very technical and organized team, and they have a number of world-class players. India will need to be disciplined and compact in defense, and they will need to take their chances when they come in attack.
If India can get a result against Japan, it will be a huge boost for their hopes of qualifying for the Olympics. A good performance against Japan would also be a sign of the progress that the Indian women’s football team has made in recent years.
DISCLAIMER: This team is based on the understanding, analysis, and instinct of the author. While selecting your team, consider the points mentioned and make your own decision.