Defending champion Japan takes on challenger China PR while first-time World Cup entrants The Philippines face an uphill task against Korea Republic in the semifinals of the 2022 AFC Women's Asian Cup at the Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune on Thursday.
Japan, gunning for a hattrick of titles, has a formidable Chinese outfit to brush past in the second match of the day, with Wang Shuang standing a chance to finish the tournament as the top goal scorer of the tournament, especially if the team manages to go through to the summit.
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With five goals in the tournament so far, she is second only to Australia's Sam Kerr (7 goals). Shuang's playmaking skills will also come in handy if China seeks to take the aggressive rout against holder Japan. Yuika Sugasawa (with four goals so far in the tournament) can counter the advantage Shuang gives China but both teams will need rally their defences effectively.
The Philippines have secured their best ever finish in the tournament's history but will hope to not stop at just the semis. However, Korea Republic, their semifinal opponent, has a superior head to head record, in addition to the confidence booster from beating the hosts of the 2023 World Cup co-host and one of the title favourites, Australia.
Korea's Ji So-yun and The Philippines' Chandler McDaniel both have four goals to their name in the tournament so far and will be the fulcrums of their side's attacking formations but Korea's defensive solidity which was on display in the quarterfinal against Australia, will pose questions to the Filipino attack.