Australia and Japan are the duo of Asian women’s football. Of the 37 women’s football member nations of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), they have the two highest FIFA world rankings (as of 9 June 2023). Australia is ranked 10th (1919.69 points) and Japan is a close second (3.01 points) at 11th (1916.68 points).
As a testament to this, the two nations look set to represent the pride of Asian football at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia-New Zealand 2023. Side by side in the quarter-finals, the second stage of the knockout stage.
In a World Cup dominated by European dominance, these two nations have no intention of stopping their ascent as bastions of Asian football. Japan, in particular, are the only team in the quarter-finals to be riding a four-game winning streak and are the clear favourites to win the tournament. England and Sweden’s three-game winning streaks in the group stages have been somewhat tarnished by penalty shootouts. In the round of 16, England and Sweden defeated Nigeria (4-2) and the USA (5-4) on penalties respectively.
Australia and Japan, who have played to their full potential, are highly regarded as having built up enough quality to go all the way. The odds are just one aspect of that. In the odds rankings released by sports statistics specialist Opta Analytics after the quarter-finals were finalised, Australia and Japan were ranked second (15.46%) and fourth (13.28%) respectively. Compared to the sixth and seventh places of the quarter-finalists in the FIFA World Rankings, this shows that they are highly regarded and close to the top.
Australia-Japan build on momentum and inflate ambitions to restore Asian football pride
The Australia-New Zealand World Cup quarter-final was a reminder that ‘Europe is the home of football’. There are five UEFA members, followed by AFC (2) and CONMEBOL (1). On paper, the AFC, with Australia and Japan, and CONMEBOL, with Colombia, are 3-5. They also lag behind in the FIFA world rankings. Even the Netherlands, which has the worst FIFA ranking of the five nations (9th – 1980.47), is ahead of the three nations (Australia-Japan-Colombia).
However, these rankings were made two months ago. In a World Cup that is not a pennant race but a short-lived battle for supremacy in a group-knockout stage format, the FIFA World Rankings are only a ‘guide’. It is a ‘ranking illusion’, as evidenced by the bitter taste of defeat in the round of 16 for No. 1 USA (2090.03 points), which was seeking an unprecedented third consecutive title, and No. 2 Germany (2061.56 points), which was seeking a third consecutive summit, in the group stages.
In contrast, the odds of winning are more realistic. It is a statistic that takes into account not only objective strength and major tournament results, but also the performance, flow, and opposition record at the World Cup.
In this context, it is fair to say that England (2040.76 points), ranked fourth in the FIFA World Rankings, is the only team in the 20s (27.3) to be considered a favourite to win (see table). Having undergone a steady generational change in recent years, England are at the peak of their powers, culminating in the 2022 UEFA Women’s Championship on home soil. Dutch coach Sarina Wijkman is one of the best coaches in women’s football. Her squad has a reputation for being very strong, with top-class players in every position.
So, based on the odds, I’m going with Australia and Japan as the favourites to show that Asia is on top of the world when it comes to women’s football. The way the brackets are set up, Australia and Japan could only meet in the final. And it’s not out of the question. At least one country will be able to reach the final and showcase the power of Asian football.
Japan has a slightly more favourable path than Australia. The key will be Sweden in the quarter-finals. If they get over this hurdle, Spain should have an easier time of it, as they look to knock out the Netherlands. The third favourite to win the tournament is Japan (14.97%), but they have the advantage of having played Spain in Group C, where they thrashed them 4-0.
What’s more, at this World Cup, Japan has been one of the best offensively and defensively. With 14 goals in four games (an average of 3.5 goals per game) and a stingy defence that has conceded just one goal (an average of 0.25 goals per game), it’s an excellent offensive balance.카지노사이트
Australia, with their home ground advantage, will be a thorn in Japan’s side. France in the quarter-finals is also a tough test, and if they get through that gateway, they face an England side that should easily beat Colombia. In this case, it’s the 1-2 favourites to win the tournament, and it could be the de facto final of the World Cup.