COVID outbreak forces hosts India to be kicked out of Asian Cup

The Women's Asian Cup was thrown into turmoil when hosts India were kicked out of the tournament after a COVID-19 outbreak meant they were unable to field a team for their Group A match against Taiwan on Sunday.

Regulations require coaches to name a minimum 13-player matchday squad for each game and India's inability to do so caused the game at Navi Mumbai's DY Patil Stadium to be cancelled.

Thomas Dennerby's side have been kicked out of the competition with all their results nullified.

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"The inability of India to participate in the match...triggers Article 6 of the AFC Women's Asian Cup India 2022 regulations," the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) said in a statement.

Article 6 states "all participating member associations undertake that their participating teams shall play... all of their matches in the finals until elimination."

India, hosting the event for the first time since 1989, are now out of contention but the AFC said the tournament would continue as scheduled.

Indian soccer federation president Praful Patel said the team were "heartbroken."

"We are as disappointed as probably the entire nation would be right now with this unwarranted situation," Patel tweeted.

"However, the players' health and well-being are of paramount importance to us & it cannot be compromised under any circumstances."

India's opening draw with Iran has been cancelled, effectively turning Wednesday's match between Iran and Taiwan into an eliminator for a place in the quarterfinals.

China became the first nation to book their place in the knockout rounds with a 7-0 win over debutants Iran in their Group A game in Mumbai on Sunday.

The Chinese backed up their opening win over Taiwan with a comprehensive victory, Wang Shuang celebrating her 27th birthday with two goals.