Gary van Egmond’s Westfield Young Matildas moved a step closer to continental glory on Sunday when they defeated Vietnam 5-2 to progress to the final four of the 2017 AFC U19 Women’s Championship in China.
Australia finished second in Group B behind Japan, and will now play Group A winners DPR Korea in Nanjing on Wednesday in the first of the competition’s Semi-Finals. Kick-off will be at 3pm local time (6pm AEDT).
Should the Westfield Young Matildas defeat DPR Korea the team will not only qualify for the 2017 AFC U19 Women’s Championship Final, but also book a place at next year’s 2018 FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup, which will be held in France.
Even if Australia lose to DPR Korea on Wednesday, van Egmond’s girls will still have the chance to advance to next year’s international showpiece in France.
However, they would then need to win the competition’s third/fourth place play-off on Saturday against the loser of the other Semi-Final to be played between Japan and hosts China PR.
Australia took the lead over Vietnam early in the match when Sydney FC’s Westfield W-League star Remy Siemsen scored her third goal of the tournament.
The Westfield Young Matildas doubled their advantage shortly after when Western Sydney Wanderer Rachel Lowe scored her first goal of the competition.
On the half hour Adelaide United midfielder Alex Chidiac got in on the act to make the score 3-0.
Shortly after half-time Vietnam reduced the deficit to make the score 3-1, however Chidiac found the back of the net in the 69th and 72nd minutes of the encounter to claim a hat-trick and give van Egmond’s charges a commanding lead.
A further goal to Vietnam in the 81st minute proved to be a consolation as the Westfield Young Matildas advanced to the knockout stage of an Asian Football Confederation competition for the first time since 2006.