Dianne Alagich returns for Qantas Matildas
The Qantas Matildas will face Mexico in Thursday’s international match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground bolstered by the return of experienced defender Dianne Alagich who returns to the national team after a lengthy absence through injury.
The Qantas Matildas will face Mexico in Thursday-s international match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground bolstered by the return of experienced defender Dianne Alagich who returns to the national team after a lengthy absence through injury.
Adelaide-born Alagich, one of the most experienced players in the squad with 58 appearances for Australia, last appeared for the national team 12 months ago on the Qantas Matildas tour of Asia.
“It has been a long and arduous road back to fitness for Dianne and her presence adds invaluable experience having been involved with the national team for over a decade,” said Qantas Matildas coach Tom Sermanni.
Qantas Young Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams is the only other change from the squad that scored a win and two draws in the team-s last appearance against China last December.
The squad contains four players - Kylie Ledbrook, Collette McCallum, Sally Shipard and Williams - who are set to feature for the Qantas Young Matildas at August-s FIFA U-20 Women-s World Championship in Russia.
“We have a fairly settled squad and we have tried to maintain some level of consistency and continuity given our limited time together to work as a unit. Despite that, and even though there is a strong team spirit, the battle for positions in the starting team are as tough as ever with everyone particularly keen to play at the MCG,” said Sermanni.
The Qantas Matildas squad for the Mexico matches is:
Goalkeepers - Melissa Barbieri (Victoria), Lydia Williams (ACT)
Defenders - Rhian Davies (NSW), Kate McShea (Queensland), Karla Reuter (Queensland), Cheryl Salisbury (NSW), Thea Slatyer (NSW), Heather Garriock (NSW), Dianne Alagich (South Australia)
Midfielders - Lana Harch (Queensland), Collette McCallum (ACT), Joanne Peters (NSW), Sally Shipard (NSW), Alicia Ferguson (Queensland), Kylie Ledbrook (NSW)
Forwards - Kate Gill (NSW), Caitlin Munoz (ACT), Sarah Walsh (NSW), Joanne Burgess (NSW), Lisa De Vanna (Western Australia)
Thursday-s match will be the first time the Qantas Matildas have appeared at the MCG with the match to be played as a double header prior to the Socceroos v Greece match on Thursday.
Australia and Mexico will play two further matches with the second match scheduled for Bob Jane Stadium on Sunday, before the final match at Anderson Reserve, Port Melbourne on Tuesday 30 May.
Qantas Matildas v Mexico Melbourne Cricket Ground Thursday 25 May, 4.30pm (Gates open 4.15pm)
Socceroos v Greece Melbourne Cricket Ground Thursday 25 May, 7.30pm
Qantas Matildas v Mexico Bob Jane Stadium, Albert Park Sunday 28 May, 2.30pm (Free entry)
Qantas Matildas v Mexico Port Melbourne SC, Anderson Reserve, Plummer St, Port Melbourne Tuesday 30 May, 2.30pm (Free entry)
The 2006 AFC Women's Championships in Adelaide, July 16-30, also double as the qualifiers for the 2007 Women's World Championship to be held in China.
In addition to China receiving automatic entry to the FIFA Women-s World Cup as host, the Asian region receives another two full spots, plus a third team will play off against a team from CONCACAF.
Australia and Mexico have met on four previous occasions with the Qantas Matildas winning three and Mexico winning one match. Australia are currently ranked 15th and Mexico 26th.