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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/ PlayerClubA-internationals (goals)
1.  Lydia Williams (GK)Melbourne City/Seattle Reign65 (0)
2.  Caitlin CooperSydney FC9 (2)
3.  Aivi LuikMelbourne City16 (0)
4.  Clare PolkinghorneBrisbane Roar101 (8)
5.  Laura AllewayMelbourne Victory52 (2)
6.  Chloe LogarzoSydney FC24 (3)
7.  Steph CatleyMelbourne City/Seattle Reign63 (2)
8.  Elise Kellond-Knight-90 (1)
9.  Alex ChidiacAdelaide United 7 (0)
10.  Emily Van EgmondNewcastle Jets/Orlando Pride69 (14)
11. Lisa De VannaSydney FC132 (43)
12. Casey DumontMelbourne Victory3 (0)
13. Tameka ButtBrisbane Roar/Klepp IL (Norway)64 (9)
14. Alanna KennedyMelbourne City/Orlando Pride63 (3)
15. Emily GielnikBrisbane Roar15 (4)
16. Hayley RasoBrisbane Roar/Portland Thorns22 (1)
17. Kyah SimonMelbourne City/Houston Dash78 (22)
18. Mackenzie ArnoldBrisbane Roar/Arna Bjornar FC (Norway)17 (0)
19. Katrina GorryBrisbane Roar/Utah Royals63 (14)
20. Samantha KerrPerth Glory/Chicago Red Stars61 (21)
21. Ellie CarpenterCanberra United/Portland Thorns16 (1)
22. Larissa CrummerMelbourne City19 (3)
23. Michelle HeymanCanberra United59 (20)

Categories: News | Women

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