Australia to host 2006 AFC Women's playoffs

The South Australian city of Adelaide will host the 2006 Asian Football Confederation Women's Championships on 15-30 July. Nine teams, including Australia, will do battle for a place in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup. "The tournament represents the best women's football teams in Asia and with the prize of qualification on offer it will be highly competitive," Football Federation Australia chief executive John O'Neill told The Advertiser.

Australia's Women's U-20 team, the Young Matildas, overnight qualified for the FIFA U-20 Women's World Championship in dramatic circumstances after coming from behind to defeat Japan 3-2 with a goal two minutes from time in the Asian qualifying tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia overnight. The team created history by being the first Australian team to qualify for a FIFA World Championship since Australia became a member of the Asian Football Confederation on 1 January.

Australia will join AFC Champions China, whom Australia defeated in the preliminary rounds and DPR Korea as the three Asia representatives in Russia next September. "We have qualified for the finals twice before as a member of the Oceania Confederation, said coach Alistair Edwards. "But this time we are going as an Asian team and I can tell you that our players are proud to represent Asia in this competition and we will do our best for the continent."

Comments