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‘Belle’ sets sail for first-ever Olympics amid tough draw…starting Saturday against Thailand

will be looking to qualify for their first ever Olympic Games.
The team is in Group B of the second Asian qualifying round for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. They will open their campaign against Thailand at 4:30 p.m. (ET) on June 26 in Xiamen, Fujian Province, China, before facing North Korea on June 29 and China on June 1. In this second round of qualifying, four teams will qualify for the final round: the three group winners and the best of the group runners-up. Only two teams will advance to the Paris Olympics.

It’s a tough draw. Thailand is a relative underdog, while their second opponent, North Korea, is a longtime powerhouse in the women’s soccer tradition. Furthermore, South Korea is heavily outclassed by the DPRK in the head-to-head series, with a 1-3 record and 16 draws, and lost 1-4 in the quarterfinals of the Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games. China is also a powerhouse, having won the Women’s Asian Cup in 2022. South Korea is also heavily outclassed by China in the head-to-head series with 5 wins, 7 draws and 29 losses.

The ‘Belles’ have taken pride in their last two tournaments. In July, they suffered a group stage exit at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, and in September, they were upset in the quarterfinals of the Hangzhou Asian Games. With a bad taste in their mouths, they were drawn in the “Group of Death” for the second round of Asian qualifying for the Paris Olympics and faced a tough road ahead.

There was also a twist. Choi Yoo-ri (29, Birmingham City), the national team’s leading winger, suffered a hamstring injury and was replaced by Jung Seol-bin (33, Incheon Hyundai Steel). Choi Yoo-ri was a starter at the Women’s World Cup and Hangzhou Asian Games, so she will need to adjust her tactics.

Despite a tough draw and an unfavorable atmosphere, the team’s goal is to qualify for their first Olympic Games. The team departed for China on Sept. 23 and will be looking to erase their World Cup and Asian Games disappointments. “It’s not going to be easy, but we have to go out with a bang. Our goal is to win three in a row,” Bell said.

The team will be relying on players who missed the Asian Games. Despite losing Choi Yoo-ri, Bell has a full squad for the tournament, which is being held during the FIFA Women’s World Cup A match. Ace Ji So-yeon (32-Suwon FC) and veterans Lee Keum-min (29-Brighton) and Lee Young-joo (31-CFF Madrid), who did not compete at the Asian Games, 메이저사이트 will accompany her to the second qualifier. Also on the roster is promising youngster Casey Eugene Fair (Unattached), who became the youngest player to qualify for the World Cup in July. Looking ahead to another challenge, Fair said, “It will be a historic event if we qualify for the first time ever. With that motivation, I will do my best,” she said.

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