Vietnam qualify for first-ever World Cup
Beat Chinese Taipei 2-1 to book their place in the 2023 World Cup
NAVI MUMBAI: Vietnam qualified for the FIFA Women's World Cup for the first time by defeating Chinese Taipei 2-1 in a playoff match at the D.Y. Patil Stadium.
Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy scored the game-winning goal after Su Hy-Ysuan had cancelled out Chuong Thi Kieu's first-half opener, confirming Vietnam's participation at Australia/New Zealand 2023.
The victory capped off an incredible journey in which Vietnam survived a COVID-19 outbreak before the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 to secure a berth in the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Chinese Taipei's defeat means they will join Thailand in the Inter-Confederation Playoffs, where a win will qualify them for their first FIFA Women's World Cup in 31 years.
After defeating Thailand 3-0 on Friday, Chinese Taipei entered the tie needing only a draw with Vietnam, having defeated their Southeast Asian counterparts 2-0 on Wednesday.
This contributed to Vietnam's aggressive start, as they quickly dominated possession, forcing Chinese Taipei to defend deep.
The East Asian team struggled to deal with Vietnam's crosses, and it cost them as early as the seventh minute when Chuong stood nearly unchallenged to tap home Nguyen Thi Tuyet Dung's corner.
Vietnam rushed forward, buoyed by the score, but it nearly proved to be their undoing in the 19th minute, when Su Hy-Ysuan pounced onto a loose ball and raced into the penalty area before passing to a sprinting Chen Yen-Ping.
Chen slotted home, but the ball had past the touchline before Su could play it back, much to Chinese Taipei's displeasure.
Neither side was able to get through in the last minutes of the first half, but Chinese Taipei began the second in spectacular fashion, with Su drawing them level in the 49th minute.
Wu Kai-Ching's ingenuity resulted in the goal, as the midfielder grabbed the ball, weaved past several Vietnam players, and released Su, who blasted into the bottom left corner past goalie Tran Thi Kim Thanh.
The contest had turned in Chinese Taipei's favour, but Vietnam remained unfazed, and their strong play was rewarded with a second goal in the 56th minute, as Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy deftly controlled Thai Thi Thao's cross before shooting the ball past Tsai Ming-Jung.
That was enough to propel Vietnam to a historic first-ever appearance in the FIFA Women's World Cup.
Edited - SportsAction / Inputs - Agency