Matildas squad named for 2018 Asian Cup campaign
With 1,108 international caps between them at an average of 48 caps per player, the Matildas head to the Asian Cup as experienced campaigners19 March 2018 | FT Editor
An experienced 23-player squad, with 1,108 'A' international caps between them, and headlined by some returning players has been named by Alen Stajcic for the Matildas tilt at the 2018 Asian Cup to be held in Jordan next month. The same squad will also play in the farewell friendly being held in Perth against Thailand.
The players included in the camp who were not available (or who did not play due to injury) for the recent Algarve Cup include Kyah Simon, Emily Gilnik, Steph Catley and Hayley Raso.
Also recalled is Aivi Luik (right) from Melbourne City who has not played for the Matildas since 2015, deservedly so after terrific performances for the W-League champions in the 2017-18 season.
Those who missed out from the Algarve Cup squad are 19-year-old midfielder Emily Condon (Adelaide United); 24-year-old defender, Hannah Brewer (Newcastle Jets); and another youngster, 17-year-old Rachel Lowe (Western Sydney Wanderers).
At number four in the world, the Matildas are the top-ranking team in Asia and will be favourites to lift the Asian Cup trophy on 20 April. Defending champions Japan (9th), South Korea (14th) and Vietnam (32nd) also in the same group, while the other group comprises hosts Jordan (50th), China (16th), Thailand (30th) and the Philippines (69th). Australia were runners-up to Japan in 2014, and won the tournament in 2010 against North Korea.
Stajic says the Matildas enter the campaign with "utmost belief" given the extent of the international experience in the squad.
“The players have set themselves specific goals for the Asian Cup which is one of the three major international tournaments along with the FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Olympics," Stajcic said.
“We have a good fortnight in Perth before we head to Jordan which allows us to prepare for the tournament in ideal conditions."
Stajcic said they do not underestimate the opposition.
"The Korea Republic [South Korea] have made great improvements in recent times and Japan are the defending champions so there will be definitely no complacency on our part."
The 2018 Asian Cup also serves as the qualifying tournament for the 2019 Women's World Cup to be held in France, with the top five teams from the tournament qualifying for the newly-expanded World Cup tournament.
The Matildas are now in Western Australia for a two-week long preparatory camp which includes an international friendly against Thailand, which is also competing in the Asian Cup. It is the first time the Matildas have played in Western Australia, with tickets starting at $10 for children and $20 for adults.
“We are also all looking forward to playing our first ever match in Perth against Thailand which should be a good challenge and will allow us to see how we are tracking leading into the tournament,” Stajcic said.
The Matildas' Asian Cup campaign opens on 7 April against South Korea, followed by Vietnam on 10 April, and Japan on 13 April. The final will be held on 20 April. All games will be shown on FOX Sports and SBS Viceland.
|Shirt number/ Player||Club||A-internationals (goals)|
|1. Lydia Williams (GK)||Melbourne City/Seattle Reign||65 (0)|
|2. Caitlin Cooper||Sydney FC||9 (2)|
|3. Aivi Luik||Melbourne City||16 (0)|
|4. Clare Polkinghorne||Brisbane Roar||101 (8)|
|5. Laura Alleway||Melbourne Victory||52 (2)|
|6. Chloe Logarzo||Sydney FC||24 (3)|
|7. Steph Catley||Melbourne City/Seattle Reign||63 (2)|
|8. Elise Kellond-Knight||-||90 (1)|
|9. Alex Chidiac||Adelaide United||7 (0)|
|10. Emily Van Egmond||Newcastle Jets/Orlando Pride||69 (14)|
|11. Lisa De Vanna||Sydney FC||132 (43)|
|12. Casey Dumont||Melbourne Victory||3 (0)|
|13. Tameka Butt||Brisbane Roar/Klepp IL (Norway)||64 (9)|
|14. Alanna Kennedy||Melbourne City/Orlando Pride||63 (3)|
|15. Emily Gielnik||Brisbane Roar||15 (4)|
|16. Hayley Raso||Brisbane Roar/Portland Thorns||22 (1)|
|17. Kyah Simon||Melbourne City/Houston Dash||78 (22)|
|18. Mackenzie Arnold||Brisbane Roar/Arna Bjornar FC (Norway)||17 (0)|
|19. Katrina Gorry||Brisbane Roar/Utah Royals||63 (14)|
|20. Samantha Kerr||Perth Glory/Chicago Red Stars||61 (21)|
|21. Ellie Carpenter||Canberra United/Portland Thorns||16 (1)|
|22. Larissa Crummer||Melbourne City||19 (3)|
|23. Michelle Heyman||Canberra United||59 (20)|