Australia have booked their spot to their fourth Olympics by winning their play-off match against Vietnam at the 2020 AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament. Nations from AFC played in three rounds where the top four nations advanced to the two-legged play-off round to determine the two Olympic qualifiers. The second play-off between China and South Korea was postponed due to COVID-19 until June. The first matches at the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament began on November 4th 2020 and the Australia/Vietnam play-off match concluded on March 11th 2020.
Vietnam entered the tournament in the second round where they were placed into Group B and played a round robin against four other teams. The nation went undefeated with victories over Uzbekistan (2-1), Hong Kong (2-1) and Jordan (2-0). The third round saw the nation added to Group A where initially four teams were to participate, but a withdrawal by North Korea left the group with three. Vietnam won against Myanmar 1-0 thanks to a 62nd minute goal by Ngan Thi Van Su and while lost to South Korea 3-0, they advanced as the second placed team of the group.
Australia entered the tournament in the third round where they were placed into Group A and played a round robin against four other teams. The nation easily won their first two matches 7-0 and 6-0 against Chinese Taipei and Thailand respectively. The final match against China was a more defensive affair. The deadlock was broken on the 86th minute where Tang Jiali scored for China, but a stoppage time goal by Emily van Egmond gave Australia the tying goal. While both nations finished level on points, Australia won the group thanks to having a better goal differential.
The play-off between Australia and Vietnam saw the former score three goals during the first half on route to a 5-0 victory. The second game had Australia score two first half goals to further cement their spot in the Olympics. Vietnam scored in the 55th minute in a losing 2-1 effort as Australia qualified to the Olympics 7-1 aggregate.
This will be Australia’s fourth appearance at the Olympics in the women’s tournament. The nation will be looking to move beyond the quarter-finals for the first time to better their performance in 2004 and 2016. The final spot for AFC will be between China and South Korea and will be determined in June.