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Chelsea Ladies star headlines S. Korean roster for FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers

All Headlines 09:34 March 09, 2018

SEOUL, March 9 (Yonhap) -- Chelsea Ladies star Ji So-yun headlined South Korea's roster for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifiers announced on Friday.

The Korea Football Association (KFA) unveiled the 23-player roster for the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Asian Cup, which will kick off in Jordan on April 6. The competition will double as the final Asian qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, with the top five nations qualifying for the showpiece event in women's football.

Ji is South Korea's all-time leading scorer with 45 goals in 99 appearances. Her next international match will put her in the "century club," for players with at least 100 caps. She would be just the fourth South Korean woman in that group.

In this file photo, taken on Aug. 4, 2017, South Korean football player Ji So-yun speaks to reporters at Incheon International Airport before departing for England to join her professional club, Chelsea Ladies. (Yonhap)

Joining Ji on head coach Yoon Duk-yeo's team are other national team mainstays, including midfielders Cho So-hyun and Lee Min-a, and forwards Jeon Ga-eul and Jung Seol-bin.

South Korea recently competed at the Feb. 28-March 7 Algarve Cup in Portugal. Yoon kept most of that team intact while replacing two injured defenders, Sin Dam-young and Shim Seo-yeon, with Kim Do-yeon and Kim Hye-hyeong.

South Korea will set up camp next Thursday and will depart for Jordan on March 29.

At the Women's Asian Cup, South Korea is in Group B against defending champions Japan, Australia and Vietnam.

Australia is the top AFC nation in the FIFA women's rankings at No. 4, followed by Japan at No. 9. South Korea is No. 14 and Vietnam sit at No. 32.

Group A features hosts Jordan (No. 50), China (No. 16), Thailand (No. 30) and the Philippines (No. 69).

South Korea has never won the AFC Women's Asian Cup, which was first held in 1975. The Taeguk Ladies' best performance to date remains a third-place finish in 2003. They have placed fourth three times.

In this file photo, taken on Dec. 15, 2017, South Korean midfielder Lee Min-a (R) battles Ren Guixin of China during their match at the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship at Soga Sports Park in Chiba, Japan. (Yonhap)

South Korea has four wins, nine draws and 15 losses all-time against Japan. Their most recent meeting came on Dec. 8 last year at the East Asian Football Federation (EAFF) E-1 Football Championship in Japan, where the hosts prevailed 3-2.

Against Australia, South Korea has posted two wins, one draw and 12 losses. South Korea have lost their past four meetings, the most recent being the 2-0 loss in March 2016 during the final qualifying stage for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

South Korea and Vietnam have never faced each other.

At the AFC event, the top two teams from the two groups will reach the semifinals, and the third-place teams from each group will square off in the fifth-place match for the last ticket to the FIFA Women's World Cup.

South Korea has played in two Women's World Cups, in 2003 and 2015.

jeeho@yna.co.kr
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