Sunday, 23 May 2010

Aussie superstar in doubt

Australia went down 1-0 to China as Coach Tom Sermanni shuffled the decks a la Sir Alex Ferguson, but unlike Sir Alex the introduction of a World Superstar, in this case Lisa De Vanna, just after half-time not only failed to change the score but worse still saw her leave the field with a shocking injury.

The Matildas face tournament favourites Japan or Korea DPR in their semi on Thursday, my monies on the talented and free flowing Japanese, Don't miss it, it'll be a belter.

Back to tonights game.

Aussie started poorly, played without real shape or ability to keep the ball despite having Heather Garriock into the team that started against Vietnam.

And no surprise when Avi Luik was poorly positioned defensively and China took the lead with a cracking finish.

Maybe Lydia Williams could have saved it. I say maybe because when you see the saves she made in the rest of the game anything is possible for Lydia.

China pushed hard until half-time and in truth Australia created little and had little real ball.

De Vanna came on early in the second half and the team lifted. Is she that inspirational or did Sermanni push Tamara Butt and Sam Kerr further forward. Collette McCallum also added some much need quality in the forward play when she came on and despite China having two or three clear chances to seal the game, it was Australia who finished stronger.

In part China sat back but Leena Khamis and Collette McCallum went close, and Butt got into excellent positions on the right but failed to cross with quality time and time again. She'll be disappointed but looked tired in the heat.

Next up is the semi, a mega clash no matter who.

Rested Lauran Colthorpe, Collette McCallum, Clare Polkinhorne, Katie Gill and Kim Carroll, Ellise Kellond-Knight will all return.

Two games to secure our place at the World Cup. The TV viewer will expect we have to do it without the mercurial Lisa De Vanna.

The Matildas with or without De Vanna showed tonight they have plenty to threaten any of the top teams and with a stronger team line-up over the next two games Sermanni will be very confident they can progress to the World Cup, although we may have to wait for the 3rd/4th play-off if Japan top their group.

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