Bengal girls with a chance of World Cup berth
DOT Desk: Bangladesh U16 women’s national team now has a shot at making it to the finals of the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup 2020 after securing their spot among the eight teams who would compete in the finals of the AFC U16 Women’s Championship 2019, reports The daily Ittefaq.
On Friday, the Bengal girls beat a tenacious Myanmar side 1-0 at their home in Group B of the second round of AFC qualifiers to confirm their place in the AFC finals to be played from September 15-28 in Thailand.
The AFC U16 Women’s Championship 2019 will double as the qualifiers of Asian confederation for the FIFA World Cup to be played next year.
The top three teams from the AFC will go to play in the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup 2020 to be played in either France or India.
As of now, both Bangladesh and China are safe to go through to the finals of the AFC U16 Women’s Championship 2019 after winning both of their respective opening matches of the second round of qualifiers.
On Sunday, the Red and Greens will face off against their Chinese counterparts to decide the group champions.
So far, six of the eight teams have been confirmed for the AFC finals. They are Thailand (hosts), North Korea, South Korea, Japan, China and Bangladesh. Two more teams will complete the pool after the matches of Group A of the second round of qualifiers are played.
This would be Bangladesh’s third time playing in the competition after 2005 and 2017. So far, the Red and Greens have not managed to win any matches in the competition. However, the scenario could have been much different had Bangladesh not got a player sent off in their 3-2 loss against Australia in their final group match of the 2017 edition of the AFC U16 Women’s Championship.
Nevertheless, the Bengal girls are stronger than ever this time around. The team scored a whopping 27 goals without a single reply in the four group matches in the primary stage of the qualifiers back in September 2018 at home.
The girls showed no signs of slowing down as they continued to rain goals on their opposition beating Philippines 10-0 in their first Group B game in Round 2 of AFC qualifiers at Mandalay, Myanmar on February 27. The team then secured their place in the finals by beating hosts Myanmar 1-0 who were desperate to stop Bangladesh from scoring.
The girls have been working harder and harder in the training ground under the supervision of head coach Golam Rabbani Choton and technical and strategic director Paul Thomas Smalley and it paid dividends which has been manifested in the recent results.
The girls will now look to trump China to the top spot in the group and go to AFC finals at the peak of their confidence.The whole nation will be looking at the U16 women’s national team to fly the flag of Bangladesh at the world stage for the first time ever at any level.