A young and mostly inexperienced Hong Kong could not have asked for a tougher initiation into the international arena when they come up against Japan in their opening game at the sixth women's Asia Cup starting at King's Park today. The last time Hong Kong played Japan, at the Asian Games in Doha last December, it ended in a 9-0 rout. Luckily those battle scars and memories won't matter all that much as the line-up is very different. 'Half this side did not play at the Asian Games,' said Hong Kong captain Tessa Yung. 'This tournament is all about looking ahead to the next Asian Games and the East Asian Games in 2009. It will give us the experience and the confidence we need for the future.' Yung, who plays as a sweeper, was missing in Doha. But she will have three players who did take part - Christie Fearnside, Lo I-ka and Kate Wong - on her shoulders and at the heart of the defence, the key area in Hong Kong's game-plan. Realistically, Hong Kong coach Steve Rodrigues won't expect anything more than damage limitation from his team against two of Asia's top teams, Japan, ranked sixth in the world, and South Korea (eight). The latter thrashed Hong Kong by a record 15-0 in Doha. Hong Kong meet Korea on Monday and their final pool game is against Taiwan next Wednesday. 'Our final pool game against Taiwan is our big one. All our focus will be on that. But having said that, our performance against New Zealand in the warm-up match has given the girls a huge morale boost and we are looking forward to taking on Japan and Korea. One thing I know for sure, we will be doing a lot of running against those two teams,' Yung said. Hong Kong lost 4-0 to the Black Sticks, a brave performance considering it was their first real competitive match since preparations began four months ago for this tournament - the biggest of its kind to be held in Hong Kong. A total of nine teams are taking part in the nine-day event. The other pool comprises Asian Games champions China, ranked fifth in the world, India, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. This tournament will offer Asia's top three - China, Japan and Korea - the only opportunity to play against each other before the Beijing Olympics.