Milicic sees room for improvement despite Australia masterclass
Sydney: A largely satisfied Ante Milicic said his Australian side still need to improve defensively if they are to challenge the world’s best, after they cantered to a 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei in their opening AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifier on Friday.
A Caitlin Foord hat-trick helped the Matildas avoid any slip ups on a sodden Campbelltown Stadium pitch, but Milicic seized on a handful of sloppy defensive moments, including one which saw Chinese Taipei striker Lee Hsiu-chin hit the woodwork, as something for his star-studded side to work on.
In their first competitive match since the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019 – where long balls over the back four caused regular problems for Milicic’s side – the Australian boss said the issue remains a long-term concern.
Jia: Mental strength made up for China PR's physical challenges
Sydney: China PR head coach Jia Xiuquan paid tribute to his side’s mental toughness, after they closed an exceptionally challenging week with a stunning 6-1 win against Thailand in the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Friday.
Unable to train and confined to their Brisbane hotel for an extended period as a result of health precautions, the Steel Roses showed they have an iron will, producing four first-half goals to claim a commanding victory a little over 24 hours after arriving in Sydney.
With three points emphatically secured, Jia revealed his satisfaction at his team’s ability to overcome their trying circumstances.
Qualifiers Final Round - Group B: Australia 7-0 Chinese Taipei
Leumeah: Australia lived up to their billing as Group B’s top-ranked side, getting their AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers campaign off to a dominant start with a 7-0 win over Chinese Taipei at Campbelltown Stadium on Friday.
Caitlin Foord bagged a first-half hat-trick against former club coach Kazuo Echigo, while Steph Catley, Hayley Raso and substitutes Sam Kerr and Katrina Gorry also found the back of the net as the Matildas outclassed the 40th-ranked visitors.
While Ante Milicic’s side took trouble-free first steps on the road to Tokyo, Chinese Taipei are now likely to require a win against China PR on Monday if they are to keep their Olympic dream alive.
Qualifiers Final Round - Group B: China PR 6-1 Thailand
Leumeah: China PR overcame a build-up full of obstacles in the most impressive way possible, registering a comprehensive 6-1 win over Thailand in the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament at the Campbelltown Stadium on Friday.
It may have been a belated start to their bid to reach Tokyo 2020, but the Steel Roses wasted no time in stamping their authority on Group B, as the seven-time Asian champions piled on four first-half goals to put themselves out of sight early in the contest.
Li Ying and Tang Jiali scored two goals apiece, with Zhang Xin and Wang Shanshan also getting on the scoresheet as China took a significant step towards next month’s final play-off round, while Thailand are on the brink of elimination after successive defeats.
Jeju: Goalkeeper Mya Phu Ngon has revealed that Myanmar's mistakes caused their 1-0 defeat to Vietnam in the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers final round Group A tie at the Jeju World Cup Stadium on Thursday.
Myanmar came into the match having suffered a 7-0 defeat to Korea Republic in their opener but held their own for the first 45 minutes against Vietnam before conceding a goal just after the hour mark which sent Tin Myint Aung's side crashing out of the tournament.