3 key players Westfield Matildas could face at 2018 Asian Cup

The Westfield Matildas are heading towards the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup on the back of an incredible 2017 and are looking to continue their eye-catching performances in one of the biggest tournaments of the year.

While Alen Stajcic's side are the highest-ranked team in Asian and will be the side to beat, it won't be easy in the tournament's 'group of death' against Japan, Vietnam and Korea Republic. 

After the heartbreak of losing the 2014 final against Japan, the Westfield Matildas will be keen to go one better and will be hoping to capitalise on their incredible run of form.

We've highlighted one player from each of the three nations Australia will face they will need to stop when the tournament gets underway in Jordan in April.

Japan: Saki Kumagai

Saki Kumagai’s capped off another incredible year being nominated for the 2017 AFC Women's Player of the Year.

The Nadeshiko's captain has competed in and won just about every competition, for club and country, she has set foot in. Only the AFC Women's Asian Cup remains elusive to her impressive list of achievements.

Kumagai's incredible list of achievements includes that of a winners medal at both the FIFA Women's World Cup and Asian Games and a silver medal at London 2012 Olympics. Her club record is just as impressive, playing for French club Olympique Lyonnais, she has amassed 10 major trophies, most recently the 2017 UEFA Women's Champions League. 

Having missed out at the last Asian Cup in Vietnam, Kumagai will be determined to be a dominating defensive presence leading her country to consecutive Asian Cup titles.

Saki Kumagai


Vietnam: Huynh Nhu

Having scored six goals in three games during qualification, Huynh Nhu has laid down the gauntlet and firmly cemented herself as a striker to be feared at the 2018 Asian Cup.

Continuing her incredible run of goals, she led from the front helping her team secure the gold medal at the South-East Asian Games.

Winning the female 2016 Golden Ball, Vietnam's highest individual football honour, her form hit full stride and she is not looking back.

Despite her short stature, she is just reaching her football prime, and her fierce intensity and eye for goal will make her a serious threat to any defence caught unprepared.

Huynh Nhu


Korea Republic: Ji So-yun

The midfield maestro made an incredible start to her career, when at 15 became the youngest scorer for the national team netting at the 2006 Asian Games.

Her career since then has been nothing short of impressive, winning league titles with INAC Kobe Leonessa in Japan and Chelsea in England and becoming the national team's top scorer.

Having previously won the AFC Women's Player of the Year in 2013, the 26 year is hitting her prime and is only going to get better.

Playing a key role in qualification, Ji will be aiming to help the team build on the 4th place finish from the last Asian Cup and seek to win their first Asian Cup title.

Ji So-yun