Algarve Cup preview: Westfield Matildas v Portugal
The Westfield Matildas face Portugal in the bronze medal match at the Algarve Cup on Thursday morning Australian time.
It will be Australia’s second meeting with their hosts in five days.
The Portuguese have exceeded expectations at this tournament, going through pool play unbeaten and conceding just one goal in 270 minutes of football.
Ultimately it was Australia’s inability to break down their hosts during pool play which prevented them finishing top of the group and reaching the final.
The Westfield Matildas will have revenge on their minds when the two nations meet again in the battle for third and fourth place.
WHERE AND WHEN
Estádio Municipal de Albufeira, Portugal
Wednesday 7 March, (Thursday 8 March AEST)
Kick-Off: 3pm local (2am AEST)
The two nations clashed in their second group game of the tournament on Saturday morning, cancelling each other out in a goalless draw.
Before that, they’d met just once before, also at the Algarve Cup when Portugal hosted the tournament in 1999.
That game also finished 0-0.
AUSTRALIAN SQUAD NEWS
Alen Stajcic is keen to continue to build depth in his squad and has revealed he may give some of his less experienced players some international minutes.
Western Sydney Wanderers striker Rachel Lowe debuted off the bench in the last game against China and may find herself involved again.
The likes of Alex Chidiac, Hannah Brewer and Emily Condon may also get the opportunity to take the field, which might not have come if the Westfield Matildas had reached the final.
CURRENT WORLD RANKINGS
Even with a number of players missing through injury, Alen Stajcic will be disappointed his side – the highest ranked nation at the tournament – hasn’t made the final.
With one eye on the upcoming Asian Cup in Jordan, the Australian mentor will be keen to emerge without serious injuries, while extending an unbeaten streak which now stands at 13 matches.
The players will be keen to finish the tournament on a high and further press their claims for places in the Asian Cup squad.
Portugal too will be keen to finish well in front of their home fans and score a first ever international goal against their much higher-ranked opponents.
The Westfield Matildas' playoff against Portugal will be broadcast LIVE on Fox Sports 501 from 1.55am AEDT.