There’s two prizes on the line for the Westfield Matildas when they take on Japan in their final group match at the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup on Friday night (AEST).
As group leaders, Australia requires a draw not only to progress to the semi-finals but also secure their spot at next year’s FIFA World Cup in France.
It was Japan who defeated the Westfield Matildas in the final four years ago and the Aussie girls will be after some revenge in Amman.
With so much at stake for both sides, this promises to be another thriller between these two attack-minded teams.
WHERE AND WHEN
Amman International Stadium, Amman, Jordan
Date: Friday, 10 April local and AEST
Kick-off: 4:45pm local (11.45pm AEST)
The Westfield Matildas and Japan are two of the superpowers of the AFC and have been involved in some memorable clashes over the years.
In all the two nations have met on 25 occasions and while Japan currently holds the upper hand, it’s Australia who have dominated in recent times.
Of the 25 games played so far, the Nadeshiko have won 10 of them, with 10 drawn and the Westfield Matildas winning the other seven.
But it’s worth noting that the last two encounters between Australia and Japan have seen Alen Stajcic’s side come out on top.
The most recent of those came in 2017 at the Tournament of Nations, when Sam Kerr smashed a first-half hat-trick on the way to a 4-2 win for the Westfield Matildas.
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Stajcic has the luxury of having a full squad to choose from and a team full of confidence following their drubbing of Vietnam just a couple of days ago.
But with a spot in the semis – and the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France – on the line, the Westfield Matildas boss should go for his strongest starting XI in this one.
Just settling on the eleven will be difficult with every player used so far performing superbly.
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It all comes down to this!
Win – or draw – and the Westfield Matildas sail safely into the last four and next year’s FIFA World Cup.
But lose and if Korea overcome Vietnam, then Australia will be in a winner-takes-all battle for a spot in France as well as a fifth-place finish at the tournament.
It’s high stakes for all involved. But the great part of this Westfield Matildas outfit is they are used to big games in recent years and have often come out on top.
Get set for a cracking contest with goals, entertainment and attacking football assured.