AFF WOMEN’S: Surprises in store in semi-finals?

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Hope they say springs eternal. And as the AFF Women’s Championship heads into the semi-finals stage later today, there are expectations that some surprises would be served at the end of an exhilarating evening.

Defending champions Thailand will take on Myanmar at the Jaka Baring Stadium while losing finalists from two years ago Vietnam will entertain Under-20 Australia at the Bumi Sriwijaya Stadium.

Thailand have reinforced their team with a few younger players but with the bulk still from the side which propelled them for qualification to the FIFA World Cup in France next year, the onus will be on Myanmar if they can raise the level of their game.

For Myanmar, they have to play it smart where patience will be key as they look to clamp down on the speed of Kanjana Sung-Ngoen.

Myanmar are still relying on the old hands like Khin Marlar Tun to drive the team but against speed and experience of the Thais, they can ill afford to be indiscipline.

“We have to be composed and not take unnecessary chances,” said Myanmar head coach Win Thu Moe.

“The pressure will be on Thailand, so we have to play our normal game and we have to play smart.”

Over at the other side of the city at the Bumi Sriwijaya Stadium Vietnam, who are on a rebuilding exercise following the retirement of several stalwarts, will be up against a precocious U20 Australian side.

With the single over-aged player in captain Larissa Crummer providing stability at the heart of defence, the Australians have been a consistent performer all throughout the group stage, notwithstanding the loss to Thailand.

And while they have the physique on their side, they seem to lack pace and this is one area which Vietnam will be eager to exploit.

For Vietnam, they have a few key individuals like Pham Hoang Quynh, whose excellent distributive skills will be something which the Australians would be wise to pay attention to.

“We have some plans for the semi-finals (against Australia),” said Vietnam head coach Mai Duc Chung.

“Obviously what that is, we will see on match day.”



FIXTURES – 11 July 2018

SEMI-FINALS (Both matches at 1600hrs)

SF 1Thailand vs Myanmar (Jaka Baring Stadium)

SF 2Vietnam v U20 Australia (Bumi Sriwijaya Stadium)

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