SEOUL - South Korea's women's football team delivered a crushing 10-1 victory over Thailand in their opening match for the Olympic qualifiers.
According to a new release by the Yonhap News Agency, the match took place on Thursday as part of the first Group B match in the second round of the Asian women's Olympic football qualifying tournament at Xiamen Egret Stadium in Xiamen, China.
Forwards Casey Yujin Phair and Chun Garam were instrumental in the win, each scoring a hat trick. Kang Chae-rim added two goals, while substitutes Lee Geum-min and Moon Mi-ra contributed a goal each in the second half. Thailand managed to score their sole goal during the second-half added time.
South Korea, currently ranked 20th in the world, had little trouble against Thailand, who are ranked 46th. However, the team faces tougher challenges ahead with matches against North Korea on Sunday and world No. 15 China next Wednesday. Historically, South Korea has struggled against both nations. In 20 inter-Korean meetings, South Korea has managed only one win, three draws, and 16 losses. Against China, the record is similarly lopsided with just five wins and seven draws in 41 matches.
The tournament's second round is organized into three groups of four nations. The top team from each group, along with the best runner-up, will progress to the third round. For South Korea to secure a second-place finish in Group B, they must beat either North Korea or China in the upcoming matches.
The ultimate prize is qualification for the Olympics, a competition South Korea's women's team has never participated in since women's football became an Olympic sport in 1996. The two winners of the two-legged third round, set for February 2024, will secure their spots for the Paris Olympics.
Casey Yujin Phair's first goal was especially noteworthy, coming at 33 minutes with a left-footed shot. At 16 years and 119 days old, Phair became the second youngest player ever to score for South Korea's women's national team. Additional highlights included a goal from Kang Chae-rim from the right wing to make it 3-0, and a second goal from Chun Garam on 49 minutes, extending South Korea's lead to 5-0.
The team's commanding performance was capped by a third goal from Chun Garam, who headed home a cross from Choo Hyo-joo on 75 minutes. Thailand's lone goal came from Rinyaphat Moondong during injury time, preventing a South Korean clean sheet.