MANILA, Philippines – Tough foes await the Philippines in its hosting of the ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) Women’s Championship in July as it got bunched with Australia and Thailand.
Ranked No. 54 in the world, the Philippines will have its work cut out for it in Group A against No. 12 Australia and No. 43 Thailand – two former champions.
Malaysia (88), Indonesia (96), and Singapore (135) complete Group A, following the official draw ceremony on Saturday, May 28, at the Marco Polo Hotel in Pasig.
Vietnam (32), Myanmar (45), Laos (83), Timor Leste, and Cambodia form Group B.
The matches will be played at the Biñan Football Stadium in Laguna and at the Imus City Grandstand in Cavite.
Philippine Football Federation (PFF) secretary general Edwin Gastanes ensured the safety of all players and officials even as the country is currently under Alert Level 1.
The group stage will be played using a single round robin format, and only the top two teams from each group will proceed to the semifinals.
Group A’s first placer will battle Group B’s second placer, while the No. 1 squad from Group B will clash with the No. 2 team from Group A as they vie for their place in the finals.
This will be the 12th edition of the tournament, but it will be the first one after three years because of postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
It will also be the Philippines’ first-ever hosting of the AFF Women’s Championship as the Filipinas aim to capitalize on their home court advantage and improve on their fourth-place finish in 2019.
The Philippines finished second in Group A behind 2019 host Thailand but lost to eventual champion Vietnam, 2-1, in the semifinals.
Myanmar, which lost to Thailand in the semis, then defeated the Philippines, 3-0, to claim a third-place finish in the 2019 tournament.
Indonesia and Malaysia finished third in their respective groups and fell short of a semis appearance. – Rappler.com