Rising Westfield Matildas star Alex Chidiac has opened up on the recent AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign and her ‘shock’ call-up for Australia’s Semi-Final win over Thailand.
Chidiac, 19, was a part of Alen Stajcic’s squad which suffered a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Japan in last month’s Final in Jordan.
The midfielder started and played the full 90 minutes as the Matildas thrashed Vietnam 8-0 in their second group match, setting up a goal for Hayley Raso.
She was then handed a surprise start in Australia’s thrilling extra-time win over Thailand in the Semi-Final.
And while conceding she wasn’t expecting to see significant game time, Chidiac has spoken of her delight to appear on such a big stage.
“I’m really happy to get some game time at a major tournament like that and to be a part of something so special and so big,” Chidiac told Matildas.footballaustralia.com.au
“It’s definitely a highlight of my career being able to make an appearance at an Asian Cup.
“Just playing with the Matildas has always been my dream so to do that at a big tournament like that was amazing.”
After finishing top of their group, Australia were pitted against Thailand in the final four with a spot in the Final up for grabs.
Just three weeks earlier, the Matildas thumped Thailand 5-0 in a farewell friendly in Perth, with Chidiac netting her maiden goal for Australia.
And although surprised to be included for the knockout clash, the Adelaide United star admitted it was an experience she relished.
“Going into it I was pretty nervous,” Chidiac said.
“But I was also kind of inspired by [the fact] that we could make it to the final and win the tournament.
“I had that in the back of my head to drive me and to help me through it.
“Unfortunately, the game didn’t go as people expected. For us it was a little bit of a shock too.
“But it was a great feeling to be out there in a big game like that.”
With the Tournament of Nations later this year and the 2019 World Cup on the horizon, Chidiac is keen to put her best foot forward to establish herself as a regular under Alen Stajcic.
“100%. This tournament and the past five weeks has been amazing. Getting a couple of starts with the team and slowly cracking into it a bit more and getting closer with some of the players,” Chidiac said.
“It’s definitely fueled me and motivated me more. It’s been a massive tournament just for me personally to figure out how I can make it to that stage - cracking into the starting XI and being a bigger part of the team.”