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Thailand’s Silawan Intamee (right), vies for the ball with Vietnam’s Nguyen Thi Lieu (left), during their AFC Women’s Asian Cup soccer match at Thong Nhat Stadium in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
China play Japan in 1st semi Thais clinch final spot in Women’s WCup

HO CHI MINH CITY, May 21, (AFP): Thailand secured a much-coveted spot in next year’s Women’s World Cup after holding off Asian Cup hosts Vietnam 1-2 at the tournament in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday. Two second half goals by the visitors were enough to fend off a late surge by the hosts, who scored a late consolation goal to set up a frantic final five minutes. But it was the Thais who took fifth place in the Asian event and with it a berth at the World Cup in Canada next year. After a goal-less first half, Thailand went ahead on 48 minutes following a slip by the Vietnamese centreback, which allowed the Thai striker to calmly slot home.

It galvanised the visitors — whose coach Nuengrutai Srathongvian had spoken before the game of the team’s “dream” of reaching Canada — despite being outclassed in their first two Asian Cup games. On 65 minutes a dangerous cross-shot from Kanjana Sung-Ngoen was judged to have been parried over the line by the home side’s goalkeeper, sparking delirium among the Thai players and bench. But Vietnam threatened a late fightback with a glorious strike from outside the box on 85 minutes by Tuyet Dong. It sparked a late and ultimately fruitless surge on the Thai goal. Vietnam finish the tournament in sixth place with a single win from their four games. China play Japan in Thursday’s first semifinal in Ho Chi Minh City, followed by the second semi which sees South Korea play defending champions Australia.
 

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