Preview – 3rd place Play-off: Korea Republic v Australia
Chonburi: Australia head coach Leah Blayney has declared that Australia will be ready, willing and able when they meet Korea Republic on Saturday to determine third place at the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship and finalise Asia’s last slot at next year’s FIFA U-20 Women’s Cup.
The Young Matildas head into the game having lost 7-0 to Japan in the semi-finals after a distinctly encouraging group stage campaign which saw them finish second in Group A behind DPR Korea.
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Despite Wednesday’s somewhat chastening experience against the five-time champions, Blayney insists that her side are looking forward to the challenge ahead as they seek to claim their ticket to the global extravaganza in Nigeria.
“I am always proud of my team during every moment of the game, as well as the fact that they have that fighting mentality which we have seen during the games [in Thailand], and which we will continue to build on,” she said.
“Obviously there is another game left for us in order to qualify for a FIFA World Cup, one which we will be looking forward to. We will continue to bring that fight into that match as well. We relish the challenge.”
With plenty still to play for, Blayney has already revealed that captain Karly Roestbakken is in line for a recall after she missed the Japan clash due to suspension.
“We will bring Karly Roestbakken in for the next game, which is exciting, as well as a few other key players who were omitted from the starting 11 [against Japan],” explained the Katoomba native.
“This is a great bunch of players who are resilient and who show up in every training session and every game willing to put their best forward in every moment.”
Meanwhile, opposite number Hur Jung-jae (pictured above, right) is adamant that although Korea Republic’s title aspirations can no longer be realised, the prospect of qualifying for the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will continue to be a source of inspiration for his players.
Hur’s charges were beaten 3-1 by DPR Korea in their last four encounter, ending any hopes they had of claiming a third AFC U-19 Women’s Championship crown.
“First of all, we will let the players get some rest,” Hur declared, adding that his players were fully motivated for the crucial clash with Australia.
“As you know, this tournament is a pathway to the U-20 Women’s World Cup and my players are acutely aware of this. They still have a chance for their dream to come true, so that aspect will be the best motivation for them.
“When I first met the players, their common goal was getting a World Cup ticket and, because of that, we will try our very best to qualify.”
THIRD PLACE PLAY-OFF
Korea Republic vs Australia
Chonburi Stadium: 16:00 (UTC+7)
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