INTERNET DESK: South Korea, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam will join Australia, China, Japan and hosts Jordan in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup 2018 in April after a thrilling round of qualifying matches across the continent.

The AFC Women’s Asian Cup Jordan 2018 will also offer the top five finishers a place at the FIFA Women’s World Cup to be held in France in 2019.

AFC President Shaikh Salman bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa said, “I would like to congratulate all the teams who have secured their place at the AFC’s flagship women’s competition. Women’s football in Asia is world class – and this is shown by the fact that three of our teams are in the top ten of the FIFA Women’s Rankings. I look forward to seeing the teams in action in Jordan next year.”

The qualifiers for the AFC Women’s Asian Cup ended on Wednesday but in Group A the Philippines secured their spot in the finals on Monday after a draw with Bahrain in Dushanbe, the Tajik capital. This is the first time the Philippines have qualified for the final tournament. (They played in the competition in 2003 when there was no qualification process.)

Thailand qualified from Group C, which was played in Palestine, edging past Chinese Taipei in the deciding match with a 1-0 victory. South Korea won the very competitive Group B only on goal difference after the historic encounter with their northern counterparts, played in the North Korea capital Pyongyang, finished in a 1-1 draw.

Going into the nail-biting final match of Group D, Myanmar and Vietnam topped the table, separated only by goal difference. But it was Vietnam who booked their place in the finals in Jordan after a terrific second half performance helped them defeat Myanmar 2-0.

The AFC Women’s Asian Cup is the world’s oldest senior women’s continental competition. Next year’s final tournament will be the 19^th, and with Jordan hosting it will be the first time it has been played in West Asia. The action kicks off on April 7, 2018, in Jordan’s capital Amman and the final draw will be held in December.

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