Chonburi: The path to potential Continental glory was revealed for Asia’s stars of tomorrow as the official draw for AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019 was conducted on Thursday.
The ceremony, held at Chonburi’s Oakwood Hotel, saw the eight qualified teams split into two groups of four ahead of the competition’s October kick-off, setting the stage for a number of intriguing fixtures.
First-time hosts Thailand have a tough challenge ahead if they are to end a 15-year semi-final drought, after they were drawn alongside DPR Korea, Australia and Southeast Asian neighbours Vietnam in a difficult Group A.
Champions in 2007, DPR Korea were runners-up in the 2017 edition of the competition, while Australia finished in fourth place to narrowly miss out on qualification for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Meanwhile, five-time champions and current title holders Japan will meet China PR in a highly-competitive Group B, which also includes Korea Republic and Myanmar.
A long-time powerhouse at this level, Japan won all five of their matches to win the previous AFC U-19 Women’s Championship title in 2017, before going on to lift last year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
Four members from that squad have since graduated to senior international football, earning selection for next month’s FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.
After two stages of qualification, the official draw is the final stop on the road to the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship Thailand 2019, which also serves as the Asian qualifiers for the 2020 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
The competition will begin October 27, with the final to be contested on November 9.