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.
Sydney: Australia head coach Ante Milicic said his side must learn from being pushed to the limit by China PR at the Western Sydney Stadium on Thursday.
A supremely disciplined Steel Roses side came within 120 seconds of pulling off a shock away win against the World Number 7 Matildas, only to be denied by Emily van Egmond’s superb injury-time equaliser, which lifted the Australians above the Steel Roses on goal difference.
Qualifiers Final Round - Group B: Australia 1-1 China PR
Parramatta: Australia finished as the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament Group B winners, netting a last-gasp equaliser to claim a 1-1 draw against China PR at Western Sydney Stadium on Thursday.
A terrific Tang Jiali strike four minutes from time looked to have sealed a superb win for the Steel Roses, but an equally brilliant added time strike from Emily van Egmond gave the Matildas the draw they needed to win the group on goal difference.
Australia’s final position on the group table means they will face Vietnam next month for a place in Tokyo, while China’s Olympic dream depends on a two-legged contest against Korea Republic.
Qualifiers Final Round - Group B: Thailand 0-6 Australia
Leumeah: Australia sealed their place in the final Play-off round of the AFC Women’s Olympic Tournament, producing another convincing display to overwhelm Thailand 6-0 at the Campbelltown Stadium on Monday.
An Emily van Egmond hat-trick, a Kyah Simon brace and a further goal from substitute Hayley Raso gave Australia the handsome win they needed to retain top spot in the group on goal difference, meaning only a draw is required against China PR on Thursday for Ante Milicic’s side to finish as Group B winners.
While Australia continue to make smooth progress on the road to Tokyo 2020, Monday’s result was the end of the road for Thailand, who suffered a third successive defeat to finish bottom of the group.
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.
Bell urges Korea Republic to remain focused for Play-offs
Jeju: Head coach Colin Bell wants his Korea Republic players to stay on their toes after the East Asians defeated Vietnam 3-0 to seal top spot in Group A of the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament on Sunday.
The Taeguk Ladies found a way past an ultra defensive Vietnam with goals from Jang Sel-gi, Choo Hyo-joo and Ji So-yun to set up a date with the Group B runners-up in next month’s Play-offs.
Vietnam, who claimed second spot, will face the Group B winners with the triumphant teams from the Play-offs joining hosts Japan as Asia’s representatives at the 2020 Olympics.