This Friday the Comm Bank Matildas begin their quest to bring another Asian Cup trophy back to Australia. They kick off their tournament group stage in Mumbai at the Mumbai Football Arena against Indonesia on Friday night at 9pm.
The Matildas have been handed a relatively easy group stage. Along with Australia, group C also has Indonesia, The Philippines and Thailand, the last of which I feel will be the Matildas toughest competition through the group stage. The Philippines could also prove a somewhat hard team to breakdown with former Matildas and Central Coast Mariners manager Alan Stajcic.
When I look at the squad Manager Tony Gustavsson has decided to go with has raised some eyebrows for me. A lot of defenders and Forwards but not many outright Midfielders. 4 is the amount as the squad looks on the website. Although players like Avii Luik and Emily Gielnik can easily fill a role in the midfield if needed. The important thing is stars like Hayley Raso, Alanna Kennedy, and the Goat Sam Kerr are in the squad, so we have the upper hand right there. Especially the Sam Kerr inclusion. But it is still yet to be known whether Gustavsson has the tactical ability to lead the Matildas to glory.
Let’s see how he goes against the Indonesian side first up. Anything less than 3 wins from 3 in the group stage is a failure. Indonesia are the 94th ranked womens team in the world, while the Matildas occupy 11th. So, this should be a fairly straight forward game. It’s a chance for Tony to really flex his muscle. I’m expecting a full-strength line up for the first game and depending on how the game progresses, he may bring on some younger players or less experienced players to get them some game time. Id love to see Remy Siemsen and Cortnee Vine on at the same time to see how their club combination translates to the International game. Id also like to see Clare Wheeler and Kyra Cooney-Cross get in some good minutes. Wheeler is a big star on the rise, solid midfielder who can control the flow of the game while Kyra is also an amazing player and create magic out of nothing.
All I’m hoping for is that the Tillies can have a deep cup run and hopefully take home the trophy. This blog is a little smaller than normal and so will the other game previews/reviews, but it is what it is. Not a lot you can say when previewing a game against smaller relatively unknown nations.