Matildas going for the win against Canada
The Matildas are determined to go for the jugular on Wednesday evening against Canada and try to achieve what many would have thought impossible – finish top of their group at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in China.
The Matildas are determined to go for the jugular on Wednesday evening against Canada and try to achieve what many would have thought impossible - finish top of their group at the FIFA Women-s World Cup in China.
After Saturday night-s terrific draw with Norway, the Matildas find themselves ahead of Norway on goal difference by a +2 margin and one point ahead of Canada. Norway is expected to beat Ghana comfortably, so in order for Australia to finish on top, it must first beat Canada and possibly have to win by a two or three goal margin.
The other scenario is they only need a point against the Canadians and they will finish, at worst, in second spot, but knowing that you only need a draw to advance to the next phase of a competition, is often a very dangerous situation to be in, but one the Matildas are keen to avoid thinking about.
Veteran defender Di Alagich has been around for some time now, with this being her third World Cup finals appearance and she knows better than anyone what can happen if you go in with the wrong mind set.
“I definitely think that will be approaching the game to win it,” said Alagich, shortly after arriving in Chengdu, the location of their final group match against the wily Canadians.
“We would like to win our group and we would probably meet China (in quarter finals), which would be a better opponent to meet, than Brazil.
“It-s a little bit dangerous, knowing that you only have to draw, but will be going out to win the game, for sure.”
Coach Tom Sermanni has already said, he is taking no chances with this game and will field his strongest available line-up, although what that line-up is, is open for lots of discussion.
In two games, Sermanni has already used a total of 16 players and in the hot, humid and polluted air of China, the freshness of the players could be a deciding factor in who starts against Canada.
“We had new girls start against Norway and that helped a lot,” Alagich said. “In the second half I think we outran Norway which is a really good sign.
“So we are looking forward to playing Canada, who haven-t had many changes at all. A lot of their girls have played two full games, whereas a lot of our girls have played one game max, so I think that will really help us out, especially in the second half.”
But is it a risk to keep making changes and risk the fluency of the team?
“That-s the chance you take, but the team in itself has a lot of confidence and we didn-t out there thinking what-s going to happen; we know we have a lot of depth in the team and everyone was very confident in each other, to know that we go and do the job, no matter who was out there.”
Alagich though, doesn-t think star striker Lisa De Vanna, who has set the World Cup alight with her three goals and exceptional speed, will start against the Canadians.
“I think she will be an impact player again,” she said in a fairly confident way. “That-s what she does best.
“That-s the way Tommy has used her in the past and its been most effective for us in the World Cup qualifiers, so I think we will see her coming on as an impact player again.”
“The goal yesterday was just unbelievable and I have still got visions of that in my head now,” Alagich enthused. “We-ve known how good she is for a while, so I am glad she is finally showing the rest of the world how good she is.
“I-ve never come up against anyone else as fast as her; I am pretty happy that I don-t have to play against her actually.”
Alagich, who made her international debut against Norway (lost 2-0) in 1995, ranks the draw with Norway up in the best performances by an Australian team.
“Absolutely,” Alagich said when asked if this ranked up in the best results by an Australian team. “In Athens we drew with America, but I think getting a point against Norway; I mean they-re a class team.
“To be able to grab a point off them in a World Cup is phenomenal. I would say that-s up there as one of the best results by an Australian team.”