Author Topic: Matildas Face Searching Test At Asian Cup  (Read 697 times)

Offline David

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Matildas Face Searching Test At Asian Cup
« on: May 13, 2008, 07:17:09 AM »
MATILDAS coach Tom Sermanni views the AFC Women's Asian Cup as a massive test of his squad's depth and experience - a squad which features an Australian cricket international!

His team will be aiming to become the first Australian side to be crowned Asian champions when they compete at the 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, later this month.

Sermanni said: "This tournament will really test the depth and experience of the squad with a number of players going into a major tournament for the first time.

"We have lost a fair bit of experience since the World Cup with some players unavailable for a variety of reasons and the squad is reasonably different to what we had in China at the World Cup.

"However there is a genuine belief amongst the squad that we can match any opponent and that was reinforced with the team's performances against the USA recently."

The 20 woman squad is led by long-serving captain Cheryl Salisbury, and includes Heather Garriock, Melissa Barbieri, Di Alagich, Asian Women’s player of the Year runner-up Collette McCallum, Sarah Walsh and Lisa De Vanna amongst the key players from the team that participated last year in the FIFA Women's World Cup.

Australia will be missing several mainstays from that team, with Joanne Peters and Sally Shipard both absent through injury, and Thea Slatyer and Alicia Ferguson unavailable.

Sermanni has also included two teenagers from last year's Young Matildas - Ellyse Perry and Kyah Simon.

Perry last year achieved the remarkable double of becoming a dual football and cricket international at the age of just 16. The Sydney-based defender scored for the Matildas in the second minute of her debut last August just a fortnight after becoming the youngest ever cricket player for Australia.

Indigenous striker Kyah Simon made her debut for the Matildas in the same match as Perry and featured in both recent matches against world number one USA. The 16 year old is also a team mate of Perry's in the NSW Institute of Sport squad.

Prior to jetting out for Vietnam, the Matildas will face world number nine Canada as part of a double-header at the Sydney Football Stadium on May 23 preceding the Qantas Socceroos match against African powerhouse Ghana.

The two sides last met in the Women's World Cup when the Matildas snatched an injury time equaliser to eliminate Canada from the tournament and reach the quarter finals for the first time.

Sermanni said: "We want to go into every match and tournament looking to win and not just being there to make up the numbers.

"Despite the absentees we will be looking to build further on our World Cup showing and also go one better than we did at the Women's Asian Cup two years ago when we lost the final on penalties.

"This is our most important tournament for the year and the team will be looking to bounce back after the disappointment of not qualifying for the Olympics."

The three overseas based players - Heather Garriock (Fortuna Hjorring, Denmark), Kate Gill and Lisa De Vanna (both Linkopings, Sweden) - will join the squad in Vietnam.

Australia will open their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign against Chinese Taipei on Thursday 29 May, followed by the match against Korea Republic on Saturday 31 May before the final group match against Japan on Monday 2 June.

The Matildas squad for the 2008 AFC Women's Asian Cup is: Goalkeepers – Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne), Lydia Williams (Canberra).

Defenders – Di Alagich (Sydney), Kim Carroll (Brisbane), Kate McShea (Brisbane), Ellyse Perry (Sydney), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane), Karla Reuter (Brisbane), Cheryl Salisbury (Newcastle).

Midfielders – Joanne Burgess (Brisbane), Amy Chapman (Canberra), Lauren Colthorpe (Brisbane), Heather Garriock (Sydney), Collette McCallum (Perth), Amber Neilson (Newcastle)

Forwards – Lisa DeVanna (Perth), Kate Gill (Newcastle), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra), Kyah Simon (Sydney), Sarah Walsh (Sydney)
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