Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Matildas Confident

FFA tell us:

Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri believes the Australian team has the ability to be crowned Asian champions despite significant changes from the squad that reached the quarter finals at last year's FIFA Women's World Cup.

The Matildas will be looking to become the first Australian team to win an Asian championship when they tackle the continent's finest at the AFC Women's Asian Cup in Ho Chi Minh City over the coming fortnight. The Australian team narrowly missed out two years ago after losing the final on penalties against China in Adelaide.

Only 11 members of the 21-strong squad that took the field last year in China are present in Vietnam, with the current squad hit by a number of injuries and unavailability. The squad features a number of current Young Matildas with a total on nine players 21 years old or younger.

"The recent performances against the United States and Canada give us confidence in ourselves despite all the changes in the squad," says Barbieri, Australia's most capped male or female goalkeeper.

"You would expect the changes to disrupt us but that hasn't been the case to any great degree and we firmly believe that we can win it.

"The young players are not all intimidated by name teams or quality players which is refreshing and the signs are very good for the team despite the changes."

The Matildas will open their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign against Chinese Taipei on Thursday, followed by the match against Korea Republic on Saturday with the final and crucial group match against Japan on Monday.

"At the moment we are concentrating on making the semi final as our first goal and then anything is possible."

"As a team we certainly have the attributes to make the final and we are looking to go one better than we did two years ago.

"The weather conditions are a factor in how we prepare for the games but it is not an excuse. We are preparing well off the field and focussing on adapting to the conditions as best as possible."

Australia's overseas based contingent - Heather Garriock (Fortuna Hjorring, Denmark), Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna (both AIK Solna, Sweden) arrived overnight and are set to train with the team for the first time tomorrow after completing their club commitments. Arriving later today are 16 year old midfielder E
lla Mastrantonio and striker Jenna Tristram who will join the squad as late replacements for Sarah Walsh and Joanne Burgess, meaning the full squad will train together just once before Thursday's opening match.

First Round
Wednesday - 28 May 2008
Match 1: China vs Thailand
Match 2: DPR Korea vs Vietnam

Thursday - 29 May 2008
Match 3: Australia vs Chinese Taipei
Match 4: Japan vs Korea Republic

Friday - 30 May 2008
Match 5: Thailand vs DPR Korea
Match 6: Vietnam vs China

Saturday - 31 May 2008
Match 7: Chinese Taipei vs Japan
Match 8: Korea Republic vs Australia

Sunday - 1 June 2008
Match 9: China vs DPR Korea
Match 10: Thailand vs Vietnam

Monday - 2 June 2008
Match 11: Australia vs Japan
Match 12: Chinese Taipei vs Korea Republic

Tuesday - 3 June 2008 - Rest Day
Wednesday - 4 June 2008 - Rest Day

Semi Finals
Thursday - 5 June 2008
Match 13: Winner Group A v Runner-Up Group B
Match 14:Winner Group B v Runner-Up Group A

Friday - 6 June 2008 - Rest Day
Saturday 7 June 2008 - Rest Day

Finals & 3rd/4th Play Off
Sunday - 8 June 2008
3rd/4th Play Off: Loser Match 13 vs Loser Match 14
Final: Winner Match 14 vs Winner Match 14


Anonymous said...

Hi Eamonn, There is an interveiw video on SBS

And it looks like the Asia Cup will have highlights on SBS as well.

Eamonn said...

thanls for that, yes SBS will have highlights of all Matildas games starting 5pm on SBS Friday.