What is the AFC Women’s Asian Cup?

A Brief History

What is the AFC Women’s Asian Cup?The AFC Women's Asian Cup is a quadrennial competition in women's football for national teams aligned to the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). It is the premier women's football competition in the AFC region for national teams, outside of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Until 2010, the competition was held every two years, before moving to a quadrennial format.

The tournament has been held 19 times, with Japan taking out the most recent edition in 2018. The 2022 edition will act as qualifiers for the FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia & New Zealand, with the top five nations booking their spot. Should Australia finish in the top five, then the team ranked sixth will also qualify.

A Brief HistorySet up by the Asian Ladies Football Confederation, a division of the AFC responsible for women's football, the first competition was first held in 1975 and continued in a biennial format until 2010, except for a period in the 1980s where the competition was held triannually. From 1975 to 1981, matches were played a little bit differently however. The standard 90 minute match football fans are accustomed to was nowhere to be seen during this period, with matches played for 60 minutes in duration. The 2022 edition will see the tournament expand to 12 teams, from its historical eight.

Matildas in the tournamentThe Matildas' history in the competition is somewhat storied, with appearances dating back to the inaugural competition in 1975 led by legendary figure Julie Dolan. Interestingly, Western Australia represented the wider Australian public in the 1979 tournament, before a 27 year hiatus followed. 2006 saw the return of the Matildas to the competition, which resulted in a second place finish, ultimately losing out, on home soil, to China.

Fourth placed followed in 2008, before Australia finally avenged their losses of years gone by, taking out the crown over Korea in China in 2010. 2014 and 2018 produced another two silver medals for the Aussies, with Japan claiming first place on both occasions. The 2022 editions will be held in India.

WinnersChina is the most successful nation in the tournament with eight Championships. North Korea and Chinese Taipei have both taken out three titles, with Japan next best on two. Australia, Thailand and New Zealand are the only other Asian based nations to have won the tournament.