Five AFC teams came to France after qualifying through the Women's Asian Cup in April last year with only three of those teams making it out of the group stages.

However, on Wednesday morning (AEST), the last of those, Japan and China, crashed out of the World Cup after Australia bowed out in the first Round of 16 clash.

It means for the first time there are seven European nations with reigning world champions, the United States, rounding out the eight, left to battle it out. 

So is it a concern that there are no AFC teams left in the final eight?

Firstly, before getting into it all, there needs to be a brief rundown of the Women's World Cup format. The Round of 16 was only introduced at Canada 2015 before then it went from group stages straight to quarter-finals, because of the fewer teams participating.

But since 1991 there has always been at least one AFC team to make the quarter-final stage. Four years ago there were three; Australia, China and Japan with the latter going all the way to the final.

However, 2019 has been the World Cup for European teams after federations poured money into women's development. Italy is seeing the benefits of what a full-time league brings while the Netherlands are also reaping the rewards of having a starting side who play football for a living.

But Asia is falling behind.

There is a lack of investment, recognition and the length of seasons are minimal for most.

Australia, who are the highest ranked Asian team, still have what would be considered a semi-professional league and is far from being full-time. 

While the W-League has received a boost in the last three years  in relation to wage and off-field support, it is still just a 14 round season with each team playing at least 12 games.

It's not enough to sustain long-time development of the next generation of Matildas or create opportunities for them to play more regularly at a high level. Not just that but a short season means players can't develop and grow with a team if they have new coaches, tactics or internationals coming in each season.

When Karly Roestbakken came into the Matildas as Laura Alleway's replacement she had just 23 appearances with Canberra United over the past three seasons under her belt. 

Tactically, the Matildas also have issues with the way the attacking structure works by having Sam Kerr as a target despite being heavily marked and a fear of taking defenders on. This group is also meant to be the Golden Generation but where is the next crop of Matildas coming from?

Taken by Stephanie Meek (@stephaniemeekphotography)

Even winning a Women's World Cup didn't make lasting changes for Japan. After their victory over the USA in 2011, players received sponsorship and participation in university leagues exploded but it didn't last.

There has been a lack of sustained growth in the women's game and in the current Nadeshiko League 1, which has two divisions, the majority of players remain part-time and many still drop out after a couple of years. 

Despite all this though, this national team might be an exception to the situation at hand. They've been able to win on the national stage including the Asian Cup last year plus their under-20 level won the World Cup in 2018.

But other nations are catching up and have now overtaken Japan.

Just imagine if the JFA believed in long-term investment and sustainability of women's football in Japan.

Once again, tactically is where they are being let down and they will need to improve ahead of 2023. Players rarely ran at defenders, similar to Australia, while the majority of 50-50s were left for the opposition to latch on to.

In China, they are trying to take strides to model their football off Europe. The CFA wants all Chinese Super League clubs to have a women's team by 2020 to try to improve women's football.

Over 95 percent of the players from the national team play in the Chinese Women's Super League with the exception of Wang Shuang who plays for French side Paris Saint-Germain.

However, China's style of football stifles creativity and individual skills in coaching and training. So even introducing a new system to grow the game won't help the national team grow if they don't change their ways. 

It was evident in the game against Italy that they had one way of playing and were going to stick to it. Despite seeing why a high line wouldn't work since Australia tried the same tactic, they pushed on. They also continually put soaring crosses into the box despite not having the height advantage to get to them. 

Coach Jia Xiuquan knows there is a gap between them and the opponents they faced in France.

‚ÄúIn the last three games, we realised the gap between us and these strong teams.‚ÄĚ

Australia, China and Japan have been the giants of women's football in Asia but there are two countries making strides in their development.

The WK League is the only fulltime competition out of the five with a 28 game season between eight teams from April to October.

Players are able to solely focus on football because housing, food, and other expenses are all paid for and train almost every day to develop and hone their skills.

At a national level, the team is currently in what has been dubbed their Golden Generation but their performance in France left something to be desired. South Korea didn't secure a single win in Group A falling to Norway, France and Nigeria and only scored one goal. 

For nations like Thailand, its been a slow process to just have a women's league.

From 2013 to 2016 there was no national league which meant players had to play for a University team. But after reaching their first ever Women's World Cup in 2015, they wanted to build upon their success so in 2017 it was re-launched. 

The League includes the U-19 and U-16 national teams in a format that sees a round robin in the two groups. 

Thailand impressed at the Women's Asian Cup in 2018, taking the Matildas all the way to a penalty shootout and qualified for their second consecutive World Cup. While they didn't win a game in France, they showed potential and can only improve if the Thai federation put more investment and development into women's football.

Between these five nations, it's a real mixed bag of what is needed to grow and reach the heights that they know they can. But if nothing is done to improve women's football in this region then the rest of the footballing world will simply pass them by.