5.22.2014

From the Asian Cup to the WWC 2015: Introducing...Thailand!

So, funny story, and one you may remember: It turns out that five players from the North Korean women's national team were caught doping during the World Cup in Germany in 2011. They were using some sort of deer gland therapy? To kind of make matters worse, the liquid is extracted from a hairy gland of the deer. Why is anyone extracting anything from a hairy gland and then injecting it? If you've been hit by lightning, stay home or take some aspirin. Don't inject hairy gland juice, because it might set off some FIFA officials who might think you're kind of cheating.

Anyway, North Korea is banned from next year's Women's World Cup because of hairy gland action. This, I think, made the Asian Cup very, very interesting. Sure, the usuals would qualify, and they did: China, Australia, Japan, and South Korea all made it to the Asian Cup semi-finals, securing their spot in Canada. But with the North Koreans kept at home, one spot remained.

(Apparently, there were five spots open to teams from Asia, which is the first time ever, and kind of interesting.)

That's Thailand kicking ass in blue.

It went to Thailand, who not only beat Asian Cup hosts Vietnam 2-1, but also qualified for the World Cup for the first time ever. This is especially awesome for someone like me who loves to watch women's football spread across the world, and when was the last time we had a "first timer" at the World Cup? I don't know, and I'm being kind of lazy by not googling it.

Anyway. Congrats, Thailand! Sure, you might go home without having scored a goal in Canada, but that's not the point. The point is (1) you made it, and (2) none of you sucked on hairy deer gland.

In the meantime, someone named Jill Ellis is now the head coach of the U.S. women's national soccer team, and Julie Foudy, of all people, interviewed her for ESPNw here. No real surprises, but it's worth a scan. Oh. Said team will compete for a spot at the Cup this October during the CONCACAF tournament, which is happening in the States, which means there will be tons of little girls in ponytails screaming in the stands, which means the ticket price probably isn't worth it.

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