HONG KONG (REUTERS) - Siggi Eyjolfsson, the coach of the Chinese national women's football team, said the side deserve to be rated among the best in Asia after they secured a berth at the finals of next year's Women's World Cup.
China recorded a second win in a row at the Women's Asian Cup in Jordan on Monday with a 3-0 victory over the Philippines to ensure they will be one of the continent's five representatives at the 2019 finals in France.
"We are proud to have qualified for the World Cup 2019 and to be the first Asian team to do so," he said.
"We have played well at the AFC Women's Asian Cup and deserve to be among the best teams from Asia. We now hope to continue playing well at the AFC Women's Asian Cup and that we continue to win games.
"It will be exciting to be one of the Asian teams competing against the best teams in the world in France in 2019."
While the Chinese men's team have struggled on the global stage, the women's side have been competitive at the top level for the last two decades.
They reached the final of the 1999 Women's World Cup, losing on penalties to hosts the United States, and hosted the 2007 event. China were eliminated in the quarter-finals of the 2015 tournament in Canada, again by the United States.
Eyjolfsson's side opened their Women's Asian Cup campaign with a 4-0 win in Group A over Thailand and the Icelandic coach is setting his sights on further success.
"As a coach you want to see your team improving each match, so now we must focus on our next match which is against Jordan," he said. "We obviously want to finish this tournament well and do well for China."
With the hosts eliminated after two losses, Thailand and the Philippines will battle it out on Thursday for second spot behind China to earn a semi-final berth as well as a World Cup place.