Australia and Japan have both qualified for the 2019 FIFA women’s World Cup, following a 1-1 draw in their final Group B game at the AFC Women’s Cup in Jordan on Friday.
Japan went up 1-0 in the 63rd minute, and Australia looked headed to a third place group finish and a playoff for the final spot — but it was Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr to the rescue once again. Her goal in the 86th minute tied the match. The 1-1 draw sends both teams through to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
Korea Republic finished third in the group and will play the Philippines for the AFC’s final spot in the World Cup.
Japan and Australia join fellow Asian Football Confederation countries China PR and Thailand, who also qualified for next year’s Women’s World Cup this week. Host nation France is the only other country to have qualified for the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Japan is now the first team to qualify for all eight FIFA Women’s World Cups. Six other teams have qualified for every tournament so far, and will have the opportunity to qualify for 2019 later this year. Japan won the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup — one of just four teams to ever win the title — and reached the final in 2015.
This will be Australia’s seventh time appearing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, having only missed the first tournament in 1991. They have made it to the quarterfinals of the last three World Cups, their highest finish.
Both teams feature a number of NWSL players on their roster. Nahomi Kawasumi and Rumi Utsugi of Seattle Reign FC both appeared for Japan in the qualifying tournament. For Australia, Ellie Carpenter (Portland Thorns FC), Steph Catley (Seattle Reign FC), Katrina Gory (Utah Royals FC), Alanna Kennedy (Orlando Pride), Sam Kerr (Chicago Red Stars), Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns FC), Kyah Simon (Houston Dash), Emily van Egmond (Orlando Pride) and Lydia Williams (Seattle Reign FC) were all on the roster.
The next federation to have countries qualify for the World Cup will be CONMEBOL, with those games taking place next week. Brazil, Argentina, Chile and Colombia have all advanced to the final stage of the Copa América Femenina, which will directly qualify two teams for France 2019 and send a third to a playoff with Concacaf later this year.