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Chonburi: Australia must keep the faith, and believe they can beat DPR Korea ahead of their high-stakes clash with the reigning champions, according to head coach Rae Dower.

The Junior Matildas fell 5-0 to a slick Japanese side in their opening match, but their focus now turns to a DPR Korea side who themselves put nine goals past Bangladesh on Monday.

Dower said her players were “naturally disappointed” by the Japan result, but urged them to look forward to the challenge to come.

“Our girls know that we need to be better,” she said

“They know we didn’t play to our potential and, for us moving forward, that’s the next step. We have an opportunity tomorrow to be better than we were, and that’s what we’ll be striving to do”

In what is now effectively a must-win game for Australia, Dower spoke of the importance of remaining upbeat.

“We need to still have the belief we can get a result, and mathematically we have to do that,” the experienced boss said.

“This is where you see the character of players and what their mentality is.”

DPR Korea have long been a global pace-setter at women’s youth level, and currently hold the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups in addition to the AFC U-16 Women’s Championship they won in 2015.

Dower says the current crop of DPR Korea talent has stylistic similarities with the generations that have come before them.

“Historically they have played a fairly similar style through all their age groups,” she said.

“They’ll be very much like Japan in that their work rate will be extremely high, they’ll be very aggressive, they won’t give us much time on the ball, and they are also able to combine and play some really slick passing moves.”

Australia will need to make history if they are to beat Song Sung-gwon’s side, having lost both previous encounters with the East Asians in the tournament by a one-goal margin.

But Dower – who picked out five-goal striker Kim Kyong-yong as a danger player – maintained that opponents of DPR Korea’s stature are exactly what her team wants.

“This is a great opportunity. This is what the girls have come over for, to play the best teams and try to match it with them.”


Bangladesh v Japan

Bangladesh are also looking to bounce back from a heavy defeat, having shipped nine goals to a rampant DPR Korea in their first group stage appearance in 12 years.

The schedule does not appear to any easier in their second match, after Japan emphatically saw off Australia on Matchday one, but Bangladesh coach Golom Robbani Chotom his team will be better for the experience gained on opening day.

“The girls played against the World Champion and made some silly mistakes, which is why the goal margin was so big,” he said.

“Because we now have that experience of playing the world’s top team, I think they should improve against Japan and be more comfortable.”

Japan were outstanding on their first outing in Thailand, displaying technical and organisational quality that proved far too much for an Australia to handle as they ran out 5-0 winners.

Bangladesh will be hoping from a vastly improved result from the only other time the two teams have crossed paths in the tournament, when Japan piled on 24 goals against the South Asians on their way to the title in 2005.

Photos: AFC

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