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Unchanged squad for Play-off as Matildas eye Tokyo 2020

Sydney: Australian women’s national team head coach Ante Milicic has put an emphasis on consistency, naming an unchanged 20-strong squad for next month’s AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament final Play-off against Vietnam.

Group winners in the previous round in Sydney, Milicic has rewarded his players by selecting an identical squad which claimed big wins over Chinese Taipei (7-0) and Thailand (6-0) before being pushed to the limit in a 1-1 draw with China PR.

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The squad contains five overseas-based players, including Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord, Hayley Raso and Chloe Logarzo, all of whom recently joined English clubs, giving them limited time to adjust to their new surroundings before the first leg in Newcastle on March 6.

Milicic, who will only be able to take 18 players to Tokyo should Australia qualify, said he had little reason to tinker with this squad.

“The players that we had in camp in Sydney did a great job to help us advance to the next phase of Olympic qualification,” said the former Socceroos assistant coach.

“We were in camp for over three weeks, which enabled us to get some great work in both on and off the pitch.

“I look forward to working with these players again in Newcastle and Vietnam as we seek to seal Australia a second football team in Tokyo,” he said.

Australia will face 32nd-ranked Vietnam at Newcastle Stadium on March 6, before travelling to Cẩm Phả Stadium in Quảng Ninh Province for the second leg five days later.

Photo: AFP

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